Keselowski Grabs Another Top-Five in Texas
November 6, 2011
FORT WORTH, Tex. (November 5, 2011) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished fifth in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) on Saturday afternoon, one year after clinching the 2010 NNS championship at the track. The finish marks the fifth-consecutive top-five finish for Keselowski at TMS.
Keselowski began the 200-lap race from the sixth position after posting a lap of 29.047 seconds, or 185.906 miles per hour, during the Friday evening qualifying session.As the race began, Keselowski initially lost several spots as the front-end splitter kept hitting the racing surface, causing handling issues for the Discount Tire Dodge. After a quick caution at lap nine, the air pressure in the Goodyear radials has built sufficiently to alleviate this problem and Keselowski began picking up positions by turning the fastest laps on the track. He moved to the high line around TMS to continue to pick up valuable time. By lap 50, Keselowski had driven up to the third position.
Crew chief Todd Gordon called his driver down pit road under the green flag at lap 51 for air pressure adjustments to combat the tight-handling condition Keselowski was experiencing. After the pit stops cycled, Keselowski found himself running in the fourth position.
Keselowski continued to keep a position inside the top-five cars, despite having a Discount Tire Dodge that moved to a loose-handling condition. He radioed to Gordon that he had lost front and rear grip throughout the entire run. A lap 91 caution gave Gordon another opportunity to work with the air pressure to balance out the handling. Keselowski returned to the track in the third position at lap 96.
Following the second pit stop, Keselowski seemed to have a car that may be able to contend for the win. He routinely cut laps faster than the race leader, but could not gain any positions in the running order. However, the longer he ran the looser the chassis became. Keselowski continued to fight this condition until a trip to pit road at lap 165 where Gordon made a track bar adjustment to tighten up the chassis for the final run to the checkered. However, this had an aggressive affect on the chassis and tightened it up too much. He was still able to cross the finish line in fifth place for his 12th top-five finish of the season.
Following Saturday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 22 team remain sixth in the Nationwide Series owner point standings.
“A solid, but not spectacular, day for the Discount Tire Dodge,” said Keselowski. “We were just missing a little bit all day long. It looked like we may have something after the first initial caution, but we just couldn’t get a handle on it. It was good to be back in the Nationwide Series this weekend after a few weeks off.”
The No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will next visit the newly-reconfigured Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, November 12 for the Wypall 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.