Sonoma, Calif. – Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), finished 12th in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma (formerly Infineon Raceway) on Sunday afternoon. Keselowski recovered from an early stumble as the Miller Lite Dodge stalled as he was leaving his pit box on the first stop of the race, which dropped him back in the running order and ultimately kept him from contending for a third-consecutive top-10 finish on a road course.
Keselowski started the scheduled 110-lap event from the 13th position based on his qualifying lap of 79.995 seconds, or 94.269 miles per hour, around the 10-turn, 1.99-mile Northern California road course during the Friday afternoon qualifying session. As the race began, Keselowski was content with the handling and braking of his Dodge Charger, but he radioed that he needed more forward bite exiting the corners. He was able to manage his rear tires before coming to pit lane for his first scheduled stop at lap 31. Following a four tire, fuel and air pressure adjustment stop, Keselowski stalled leaving the pit box. This resulted in him being shown in the 23rd position as the stops cycled through on lap 36.
The air pressure adjustment had a positive effect on the car as the handling became more comfortable and produced good long-run speed for Keselowski. At times he was as fast as the race leaders while beginning his march back toward the front of the field. Crew chief Paul Wolfe called his driver down pit road for the second time, once again under the green flag, at lap 70 for another stop consisting of four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. Good work by the No. 2 pit crew saw Keselowski hold the 19th position when the pit stops were complete at lap 74.
The first caution flag of the day flew at lap 82, giving Wolfe and the team another opportunity to improve the handling of the car. Following routine service, Keselowski returned to the track in the 21st position at lap 87. He was able to make his way up to 12th place before the second caution flag of the day flew at lap 107, setting up a green-white-checkered flag finish. Keselowski made the decision to pit under this final caution, placing him 16th in the running order when the race resumed at lap 111. He was able to race his way back to his previous position of 12th before crossing the finish line in a race that went two laps past its scheduled distance.
Penske Racing teammate, AJ Allmendinger, finished ninth in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350.
Following Sunday’s finish, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team remain ranked 10th in the Cup Series driver and owner point standings.
“We were in a little bit of a hole there after the car stalled leaving the pit box after the first pit stop,” said Keselowski. “The Miller Lite Dodge was pretty good, probably better than the driver, and we were able to battle back and get a solid finish. It ended up being a really good points day for us. We survived the day with a racecar in one piece. That’s something to be proud of.”
Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team will next race at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, June 30, in the Quaker State 400. Coverage will be seen live beginning at 6:30 pm EST on TNT. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.