KANSAS CITY, Kan. (April 22, 2012) – Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), finished 11th in the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday afternoon. The defending winner of the race, Keselowski and the Miller Lite team used a complete effort to record a solid finish on a day where the handling of the No. 2 Dodge proved to be challenging.
Keselowski began the event from the 11th position based on his qualifying lap of 30.846 seconds, or 175.063 miles per hour, around the 1.5-mile oval during the Saturday morning qualifying session. As the race began, Keselowski radioed that his car was running too tight at both ends of the track, while building to a loose-handling condition at the exit of Turn 4. He quickly moved to the high line around the multi-grooved speedway in an effort to improve the handling of the car. At lap 23, the Miller Lite machine was the fastest car on the track as Keselowski was able to turn consistent speeds over the course of a long, green-flag run. Crew chief Paul Wolfe brought his driver down pit road for a green-flag pit stop at lap 44, when he called for an air pressure adjustment and tape to be added to the front grille of the Miller Lite Dodge. Fast pit work by the No. 2 crew – a consistent theme throughout the race – placed Keselowski in the fourth position as the green-flag stops cycled through, for an improvement of three spots.
As the team continued to search for ways to give Keselowski the mechanical grip needed to run up front, the driver continued to search for a line that would best suit his No. 2 Dodge. He was able to run inside the top 10 as the race moved past the first 100 laps as Wolfe again elected to make slight air pressure adjustments.
Following a yellow-flag pit stop at 133, Keselowski found himself running in the 10th position when the race resumed on lap 142. Unfortunately the high lane proved to be a trouble spot as all of the cars in the line were forced to check up. Keselowski lost six positions in the exchange, as he settled into 16th place. He continued to fight a tight-handling condition at the center of both ends of the track, while the car also ran loose on corner exit. Wolfe elected to keep his driver on the racing surface a little longer than he planned, in an attempt to pick up one bonus point for leading a lap. Keselowski assumed the race lead at lap 179. He led the field for two circuits before making his visit to pit road at lap 181. He was scored in the 19th position as the green-flag stops cycled through.
Keselowski was able to race his way into the top 15 before the final pit stop of the day. He maintained his position over the final 30 laps after finding a line that produced lap times several tenths quicker than the cars around him. However, Keselowski was unable to crack the top 10 as he crossed the finish line in 11th place, the same position in which he began the race.
Penske Racing teammates, Sam Hornish Jr., and AJ Allmendinger, finished in 19th and 32nd place, respectively, in Sunday’s STP 400.
“I thought that we had a pretty good day with the Miller Lite Dodge,” said Keselowski. “We just fell off a bit there in the middle of the race and lost our track position. I thought we were a top-10 car all day. We just didn’t have enough to run up front. We had some tough luck on that one restart when we were 10th and the outside line didn’t move. It cost me about six spots. Once you get back in 13th, 14th, or 15th, it’s just so hard to gain track position with how aero-sensitive these cars are today. We’ll take the 11th-place points. Obviously we want to win, but you have to get what you can get in these darn races.”
Following Sunday’s event, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team are ranked 15th in the driver point standings and 16th in the owner point rankings.
Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team will next race at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, April 28, in a 400-mile event. Coverage will be seen live beginning at 7:00 pm EST on FOX. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.