SPARTA, Ky. – Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished seventh in the Feed The Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway on Friday night. Keselowski overcame a penalty on pit road during the first pit stop of the night to record his eighth top-10 finish of the 2012 season.
Keselowski began the 200-lap race from the third position based on his lap of 31.651 seconds, or 170.611 miles per hour, during the Friday afternoon time trials. It took only 10 laps after the drop of the green flag for Keselowski to display a fast Discount Tire Dodge as he began turning the fastest laps on the racetrack, while holding down the third position. He radioed to crew chief Jeremy Bullins that he was loose on the entry to Turn 3, with slight front-tire chatter in the center of both ends of the track.
A lap 25 caution gave Bullins the opportunity to bring his driver down pit road for two tires and an air pressure adjustment. As he left his pit stall, the team was penalized for the driver running over the air hose, along with the right-front tire not being rolled back to the pit wall. During the subsequent visit to pit road to serve the penalty, Bullins elected to also change the left-side tires. Keselowski restarted the race from the 29th position at lap 31.
While still being loose in Turn 3, Keselowski was able to mount a march to make up the lost track position. At lap 71 he re-entered the top 10. Keselowski recorded the fast lap on the track at lap 78 as the Discount Tire Dodge began to show good speed as the run progressed. Keselowski made his way down pit road for the second time at lap 85, in the fourth position, for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. As the green-flag stops cycled at lap 87, Keselowski maintained his position inside the top 10.
As the race moved past the halfway point, Keselowski maneuvered his way inside the top five, despite handling issues that developed in Turn Four. However, he was able to once again show good speed as the run moved into the later stages. The team made its final pit stop, under the green flag, at lap 141. Keselowski radioed that he felt his ride quality getting worse – resembling the feel of a broken shock – over the final 50 laps. He was able to hold on and garner a respectable seventh-place finish for the night.
Penske Racing teammate, Sam Hornish Jr, finished sixth in the Feed The Children 300 on Friday night.
Following Saturday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 22 team dropped to ninth in the NNS owner point standings.
“We had an okay night,” said Keselowski. “I did pass a lot of cars. We just didn’t quite find the perfect handling on our Discount Tire Dodge. I’m not sure what we were missing, we just didn’t have enough. We’ll have to go back to the drawing board.”
The No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will next compete at Daytona International Speedway, with driver Brad Keselowski, on Friday, July 6, in the Subway Jalapeno 250 powered by Coca-Cola. Coverage will air live beginning at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.