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Kurt Busch Finishes 5th at Wonderful Pistachios 400

Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch fought to a fifth-place finish at Richmond this weekend. This finish marks a promising start for the 10-race “Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship” tied for fifth among the 12 drivers in the playoffs. Kurt right now is ranked seventh in the NASCAR standings after this weekend’s event in Richmond.

Busch said, “to fight back from that and to be in good position all night we had a top-five car with our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge. The last two races we were running strong and to be up front, this is what we need for the next 10 weeks. It’s all a tribute to the guys giving me good pit stops and we’re making good adjustments on the car as we run.” “Like I’ve been saying, it’s great how things have turned around and it’s a tribute to all the hard work and commitment we have at Penske Racing,” said Busch. “Penske Racing has won four races and we have both of our Dodge Chargers in the Chase. That speaks volumes for how much progress we have made and where this team’s focus is.”

Busch started Saturday’s race the 11th spot and quickly moved up to be a fixture among the top-10 drivers for the entire race. He caught a huge break on Lap 27 when he had a flat right-rear tire and Kasey Kahne crashed to allow him to pit under the yellow. From here he steadily charged, at one point he but climbed as high as second and challenged for the lead on two different occasions.

Keselowski Earns 12th-Place Finish in Richmond

Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), finished behind his teammate Kurt Busch, in 12th in the Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night. With the finish, Keselowski will enter the 2011 Chase for the Championship in the 11th position as the No. 1 wild card qualifier.

This will mark the first appearance in the Chase for Keselowski. The Penske Racing driver is also the only Chase rookie in the field of 12 that will battle it out over the next 10 races for the Cup Series championship.

Keselowski began Saturday night’s 400-lap event from the 19th position after posting a lap of 21.382 seconds, or 126.274 miles per hour, around the .75-mile, D-shaped oval during Friday’s qualifying session. The race began with a rash of caution periods that kept it from getting off to a fluid start. Keselowski chose to save his car’s equipment early on as he let the race settle in before making his way to the front of the field.

Despite having the fastest car on the track, Keselowski was having trouble with the handling on his vehicle on Saturday night. Keselowski began to lose the track position that he gained on the previous run.

Following Saturday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team remain 11th in the Cup Series driver and owner point standings. Both Kurt and Keselowski will enter the Chase, which begins in Chicago on Sept. 18, in the top wild card position on the strength of the team’s three wins this season.

Chase for the Championship will be the Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, September 18. Live coverage will begin at 2 pm ET on ESPN. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio Channel 90. Remembering
An enormous American flag rippled in the breeze as it hung from a fully extended crane o before Saturday night’s race started. Many of the drivers dawned special patriotic themed cars this weekend in remembrance of those who were lost on that day.

The flag served as a patriotic backdrop while police and military bands performed as part of a pre-race “Salute to America” concert to honor the military and first responders on the eve of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Fans were given small American flags as they entered the track, and several drivers did away with their traditional sponsor paint schemes to race in patriotic colors. Finally, for laps 9, 10, 11 on Saturdays race all broadcasts and fans went silent in order to honor those who lost their lives ten years ago.

Multiple Incidents Lead to 19th-Place Finish for Keselowski

Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Ruby Tuesday Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished 19th in the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night. Keselowski, a former NNS winner at RIR, was involved in two incidents that led to him finishing one lap down to the eventual race winner, Kyle Busch.

The contact with the outside wall had a significant effect on the handling of the No. 22 Ruby Tuesday Dodge and, as a result, Keselowski lost a lap to the race leaders at lap 136. While racing his way into contention for the “Lucky Dog” award to return to the lead lap, Keselowski was involved in an incident with the No. 7 car driven by Danica Patrick. Patrick took complete blame for hitting Keselowski in the left rear quarter panel while getting into Turn 3, but the damage required two visits to pit road before Keselowski could continue.

In the waning laps, Keselowski continued to race his way into the “Lucky Dog” position, only to have the race leader put another car one lap down just prior to the caution flag waving. Following a late wedge adjustment to both front springs, Keselowski radioed that the car had come to life, but he could not catch a break to get his lap back. He crossed the finish line in 19th place, positioned one lap down to Busch and the other race leaders.

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