Keselowski Secures Second Place at Phoenix
November 13, 2011AVONDALE, Ariz. (November 12, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished second in the Wypall 200 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) on Saturday afternoon. Penske Racing teammate, Sam Hornish Jr., picked up his first career NNS victory to give Penske Racing a one-two finish – its first since the spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2010.
Keselowski began the 200-lap race from the 10thposition after posting a lap of 27.280 seconds, or 131.965miles per hour, during the Saturday morning qualifying session.By beginning the race in the outside lane, Keselowski chose to play it safe as the new PIR surface had yet to sufficiently open up to allow for aggressive, side-by-side racing. He fell back to 15th before settling into a rhythm that began to produce some of the fastest laps on the racetrack.
Keselowski radioed to crew chief Todd Gordon that he was happy with the handling of his Discount Tire machine, except for the exit of Turn 4, where he experienced a tight-handling condition. A caution flag at lap 36 gave Gordon an opportunity to bring his driver down pit road for fuel, four Goodyear tires and an air pressure adjustment. Keselowski restarted the race from the 11th position on lap 44 as several competitors elected to take only two tires on their pit stops.
Following the initial round of adjustmentson the car, Keselowski began to race his way to the front of the field. He started to use the apron on the backstretch to complete many of the passes, becoming the first driver to do so on the new PIR surface. Following a great pit stop by the Discount Tire crew that allowed Keselowskito pick up two valuable positions, the Discount Tire Dodgeentered the top five for the first time on the day.
As the race moved past the halfway point, Keselowski began his best run of the race. After a good, clean battle with the No. 18car of Joey Logano, Keselowski worked his way up to the second position as the fourth cautionflag of the day flew at lap 130. Gordon, once again, prescribed an air pressure adjustment to go along with four tires and fuelduring a pit stopthat would get his driver to the end of the race.
The race restarted with Keselowski in the third position, but he quickly lost several spots on the restart as the field stacked together coming to the greenflag. Once the field settled in, Keselowski was running in the sixth position, but he quickly began to regain the lost spots. He once again worked his way into the second position behind teammate Hornish, but he could not get pastthe former IndyCar champion before taking the checkered flag.
Following Saturday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 22 team moved up one spot to fifth in the Nationwide Series owner point standings.
“Very good run with the Discount Tire Dodge Challenger,” said Keselowski. “Just had to be smart, had to be there at the end. We saw a lot of wrecks today, a lot of action. I told somebody, they asked me how they thought this race would play out and I thought it’s either going to be one of the best races of the year or one of the worst and it ended up being one of the best. Really, really happy with how the race track turned out. I think we saw a lot of passing and a lot of action and all in all just a lot of fun. Congrats to Sam (Hornish) and the No. 12 team. They earned this one.”
The No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will visit Homestead-Miami Speedway for the season-finale Ford 300 on Saturday, November 19. Live coverage will begin at 4:30 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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