Keselowski Scores Third Win of Season at Chicagoland
September 18, 2011JOLIET, Ill. (September 17, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), picked up his third win of 2011 in the Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday afternoon. The win is the 15th series win for the Penske Racing driver and the ninth since joining the storied organization in 2009.
Keselowski began the 200-lap race from the second position after posting a lap of 21.817 seconds, or 123.757 miles per hour, during the Saturday morning qualifying session. When the green flag flew to start the event, Keselowski wasted little time in assuming the top spot, which he did on lap three. During the early portion of the race, Keselowski made the racing look easy as he routinely clocked in with laps .5 seconds faster than the rest of the field as he build a five-second lead. He radioed that he was completely happy with the balance of the car and crew chief Todd Gordon called for no adjustments under the first round of pit stops, which occurred under the yellow flag at lap 47. Keselowski restarted the race in the lead on lap 51.
In what looked like a carbon copy of the first green-flag run, Keselowski was able to drive out to a comfortable lead before another caution flag flew at lap 65. Gordon brought his driver down pit road for a fuel-only pit stop to put the team in a fuel window for later pit strategy. Keselowski again restarted the race in the lead at lap 70. The race would not see another yellow flag.
After briefly relinquishing the lead at lap 90, Keselowski radioed that his car was a little loose on corner exit. Only then did Gordon make adjustments to the chassis, the first of which was a track bar adjustment during a green-flag pit stop at lap 116. As the pit stops cycled out, Keselowski found himself with an eight-second lead over the field.
Keselowski visited pit road for the final time at lap 168. After radioing that he was still too loose on corner exit, Gordon made a wedge adjustment to get his driver to the end of the race. This proved to be exactly what Keselowski needed as he went “to the whip” over the final 10 laps to cross the finish line 7.6 seconds earlier than the field for one of the most-dominating NNS victories of his career.
Following Saturday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 22 team remain seventh in the Nationwide Series owner point standings.
“We had a pretty good Discount Tire Dodge Challenger; we knew that yesterday in practice,” said Keselowski. “I thought that it was going to come down to Carl and us. I’m not quite sure what happened to Carl. He was certainly one of the cars to beat. We were able to just execute on pit road and have good stops with a fast racecar. It truly is a team sport. Today was a team victory. Good strategy. Good execution. Fast car. We didn’t make any mistakes and a lot of times that’s what this sport is about. It was a really strong showing here today.
The No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will enjoy a week off before visiting Dover International Speedway on Saturday, October 1 for the OneMain Financial 200. Live coverage will begin at 3:30 pm ET on ESPN2. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.
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