Up and Down Day for Keselowski at Michigan
June 16, 2012
BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 16, 2012) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished 10th in the Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) on Saturday afternoon. Keselowski was involved in two minor on-track incidents during the event, but they compounded to keep the Michigan native from challenging for his third series win at his home track.
Keselowski began the 125-lap race from the ninth position based on his lap of 38.226 seconds, or 188.353 miles per hour, during the Saturday morning time trials. Almost immediately after the drop of the green flag, the first caution of the day came out before the field lapped the track for the first time. The incident happened directly in front of Keselowski and as he slowed to make his way around the No. 7 of Danica Patrick, he was hit in the rear bumper by the No. 54 of Kurt Busch. Minor damage was sustained, but crew chief Jeremy Bullins elected to wait until the competition caution at lap 25 to make repairs.
When the competition caution waved at lap 25, Bullins called his driver down pit road for the necessary repairs to the rear bumper. As Keselowski made his way into his pit stall, Bullins noticed a hole in the nose as well. The Discount Tire crew spent time repairing the newly-discovered damage. Keselowski restarted the race in the 24th position at lap 31.
Displaying a strong Discount Tire Dodge, Keselowski began to slice his way through the field as the race resumed. Prior to the third caution of the day at lap 48, he had worked his way into the 12th position. He radioed that he was a little loose everywhere other than the center of Turns 3 and 4. Bullins elected to take only two tires, in an effort to gain the track position that was lost earlier on pit road. Keselowski restarted the race from the fifth position at lap 53.
On the first lap following the restart, Keselowski picked up a push in the center of Turns 3 and 4 and made slight contact with the No. 38 of Brad Sweet. This contact resulted in damage to the rear quarter-panel of the Discount Tire Dodge. Following a trip down pit road for more repairs, Keselowski restarted the race from the 27th position at lap 58.
Once again, Keselowski began to maneuver his way toward the front of the field by clicking off laps as fast as the race leader. He was able to make his way back up to the 12th position – both with a fast car and by a decision from Bullins to short-pit – by the time the fifth caution of the day flew at lap 103. Bullins called his driver down pit road again for repairs to the rear quarter-panel. Keselowski eventually made his way up to the fifth position, but could not hold his spot over the final laps as he crossed the finish line in the 10th position – his seventh top-10 finish on the season.
Penske Racing teammate, Sam Hornish Jr, finished sixth in the Alliance Truck Parts 250 on Saturday afternoon.
Following Saturday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 22 team dropped to eighth in the NNS owner point standings.
“We were a little off all around with the Discount Tire Dodge Challenger,” said Keselowski. “I think the handling of the car was the strong suit. We just didn’t really have the speed in it. I missed some of the things I needed to do to execute the race. But we did get something out it. I guess it could have been a lot worse day.”
The No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will next compete at Road America, with driver Jacques Villenueve, on Saturday, June 23, in the Sargento 200. Coverage will air live beginning at 3:00 pm EST on the ESPN. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.