Keselowski Rallies to a 4th-Place Finish at Chicagoland
September 16, 2012JOLIET, Ill. (September 15, 2012) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished fourth in the Dollar General 300 powered by Coca-Cola at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday afternoon. The defending winner of this event, Keselowski made a late-race rally to record his 11th top-five finish of the season.
Keselowski began the 200-lap race from the 16th position, based on his lap of 31.106 seconds, or 173.600 miles per hour, around the 1.5-mile oval. From the drop of the green flag, Keselowski began moving towards the top 10. He radioed to crew chief Jeremy Bullins that his car was loose on corner entry and exit of both ends of the track, while also tight in the center. Despite this handling condition, Keselowski was able to maneuver his way to just outside the top five before the second caution of the day, at lap 39, brought him down pit road. Following a quick pit stop that consisted of four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment, Keselowski restarted the race from the fifth position at lap 45.
Following the first round of adjustments, Keselowski continued to fight a tight-handling condition in the center of the Chicagoland corners. However he lost no track position as he continued to hold his fifth-place spot as the race neared the halfway point. To help his driver, Bullins prescribed a wedge adjustment on the next pit stop, which occurred under the green flag at lap 95. When the pit stops cycled through, Keselowski found himself in the 10th position.
The Discount Tire Dodge responded to the second round of adjustments, but developed a loose-handling condition on corner exit. Bullins began to work on a plan to balance out the chassis for his driver. He chose to drop the track bar, along with changing four tires and adding fuel, under a lap 125 caution period. Keselowski responded by turning some of the fastest laps on the track as the run progressed. Another air pressure adjustment on the final pit stop of the night helped to dial in the setup a bit more to set Keselowski up for a run to the finish.
After restarting the race from the eighth position at lap 172, Keselowski made his way into the top five at lap 186. He continued to squeeze every ounce of speed from his Discount Tire Dodge over the final laps, before setting for a fourth-place finish. The top-five finish is the 84th of his NNS career.
Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish finished sixth in the Dollar General 300 presented by Coca-Cola on Saturday afternoon.
Following Saturday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 22 team remain seventh in the NNS owner point standings.
“The Discount Tire Dodge was just OK today,” said Keselowski. “We were fast, but not fast enough at the end to run with and catch the leaders. We made some adjustments on the car and fought all day long and was able to bring home a fourth-place finish. We just didn’t have the perfect car today to run with Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.) and Austin (Dillon). It was a respectable day for everyone. We didn’t give up on it all day and a fourth-place was all that we could get today.”
The No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will next compete at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, September 22, in the Kentucky 300 with driver Ryan Blaney. Coverage will air live beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90.
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