NEWTON, Iowa (July 31, 2010) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, finished fourth in the U.S. Cellular 250 presented by Northland Oil and John Deere at Iowa Speedway on Saturday night. Keselowski had one of the fastest cars on the track at the end of the race, but track position kept him from racing to the front and challenging for the lead.
Keselowski continues to lead the Nationwide Series driver point standings by 231 points over second-place contender Carl Edwards.
Several rain showers moved through the Newton area on Friday, forcing NASCAR to cancel both practice sessions for the Nationwide Series. Keselowski, who is also competing in the NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway this weekend, attempted to make it to Iowa Speedway in time to turn a few laps. However, his pilot turned the jet around in mid-air when Keselowski got the news of the cancellation of practice. NASCAR granted the teams a one hour and 30 minute practice session on Saturday morning, during which Keselowski’s Penske Racing teammate Parker Kligerman practiced the No. 22 car to get it ready for qualifying.
Keselowski, the defending winner of the race, was the 17th competitor to take time during the qualifying session. His lap of 23.728 seconds, or 132.755 mph, placed him fourth in the starting lineup. As the race began, Keselowski radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that his car was loose all around the .875-mile track. As the race progressed the condition failed to improve. A caution on lap 42 gave Wolfe the first opportunity to bring Keselowski down pit road for air pressure and track bar adjustments. An outstanding pit stop by the No. 22 Discount Tire crew placed Keselowski third on the ensuing lap 48 restart, an improvement of two positions on pit road.
As the race resumed, the adjustments had the desired effect on the chassis during the first ten laps. Keselowski began moving his racing line around the track to find out where his car was the most comfortable. This tactic was the right move as he was the fastest car on the track from laps 66-70. Keselowski was able to keep his car inside the top-three until the third caution flag of the day flew on lap 92. Wolfe elected to make more adjustments to the track bar, in addition to wedge adjustments. More solid pit work resulted in Keselowski restarting the race on lap 99 from the same third-place position.
The chassis condition on the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge continued to remain loose as the race moved toward the halfway point. Keselowski maintained position inside the top-five, but he did not have the necessary forward bite off the corners to race with the leaders. Wolfe made the call to pull a spring rubber out of the right rear spring on a lap 162 pit stop in an attempt to alleviate the problem. The lengthy pit stop resulted in Keselowski restarting the race in the ninth position on lap 166.
As the laps wound down, Keselowski still had a loose racecar, but it was one of the fastest cars on the track. However, the Penske Racing driver had to battle back from the loss of track position in the waning laps to pick up his series-leading 15th top-five finish of the season.
Penske Racing teammate Justin Allgaier finished eighth.
“It was a solid fourth-place for us,” said Keselowski. “I thought that we had a second-place car. I don't think that we had anything for Kyle (Busch); he was really strong. It was just one of those days where some cars gambled on two tires and it took too long to get by them. We were really fast; we just didn't get what we needed to put our Discount Tire Dodge in Victory Lane. We ran well and I'm proud of all my guys.”
The No.22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger team will move to Watkins Glen International next weekend for the Zippo 200 at The Glen. The race can be seen live on Saturday, August 7, on ESPN beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio, as well as Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 128.
Brad Keselowski Race Statistics
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 1