Keselowski Picks Up Second Gibson Guitar with Win at Nashville Superspeedway LEBANON, Tenn. (June 5, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, led a race high 97...
Keselowski Picks Up Second Gibson Guitar with Win at Nashville Superspeedway
LEBANON, Tenn. (June 5, 2010) -- Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, led a race high 97 laps en route to victory in the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday night. The win is the third Nationwide Series win of 2010 for the first-year Penske Racing driver, and the ninth win of his career. He now has a bookend Gibson guitar trophy from Nashville to go with the one he won in 2008, which was his first series victory.
Keselowski now leads the Nationwide Series driver point standings by 196 points over Kyle Busch.
This weekend marked the first time in Keselowski's racing career that he had to pull "double duty" with races being held at different venues. While the Nationwide Series made its second, and final, stop in Nashville, the NASCAR Cup Series set up camp at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The tracks are 600 miles apart with Keselowski flying over 2,400 miles to get back and forth between the two states over the weekend.
After completing final practice at Pocono, Keselowski boarded a plane and made it to Nashville Superspeedway just 30 minutes prior to the start of the qualifying session. Crew chief Paul Wolfe placed a setup underneath the No. 22 Dodge that would allow Keselowski to show his strength during the race when the sun went down. As a result, he was too loose on his qualifying laps and posted the 24th fastest lap in time trials. He toured the 1.33-mile oval in 29.064 seconds, or 185.797 miles per hour.
As the race began, Keselowski demonstrated great patience as he let the cars get spread out before making his move toward the front. He entered the top-15 on lap 21. Four laps later, the Discount Tire Dodge was the fastest car on the track. After radioing to Wolfe that his car was tight and needed to "roll the center" better, a caution flag flew on lap 61 to give them an opportunity to adjust the chassis. After a quick pit stop for four tires and an air pressure adjustment by the No. 22 pit crew, Keselowski restarted the race from the seventh position on lap 67. As the race unfolded, fast pit work would be a major factor for the second consecutive race.
Keselowski made his first appearance inside the top-five on lap 69. After racing his way into the fourth position, another caution flag flew on lap 83. Wolfe elected to bring Keselowski down pit road for two tires and, as a result, he was able to pick up another position as the race resumed on lap 88. When the field came down pit road under a lap 106 caution, several cars elected to take fuel only, or right-side tires. When the race restarted on lap 107, Keselowski was in the eighth position but he did not stay there long.
As the sun began to fade and the track temperatures cooled, Wolfe's setup began to pay big dividends. Keselowski assumed the race lead for the first time on lap 126. He would remain inside the top-two cars in the running order for the remainder of the race. The final pit stop of the night came on lap 166. Needing a fast stop to keep Keselowski in the lead, the No. 12 pit crew was up to the task. Keselowski led the field to the green flag when the race resumed on lap 170.
Despite two late caution periods that allowed Carl Edwards a chance to get to the bumper of Keselowski, the Penske Racing driver was able to hold on for a 1.669-second margin of victory.
Penske Racing teammate Justin Allgaier finished fourth after winning the second pole of his career.
"We had a great Discount Tire Dodge tonight," said Keselowski. "Carl had a really good car on the long run, but I thought that we were better on restarts and it paid off for us. Clean air was so important and we drove off after we got the lead back. Whoever got out front after that last caution was going to win the race. I just love this race track. It's a fun place for me and I love coming here and winning. This is a special win for sure."
The No.22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger team will visit the Kentucky Speedway next weekend for the Meijer 300.