- Kurt Busch Has To Settle For 10th in New Hampshire
On Friday, July 15, 2011 Shell-Pennzoil/AAA Dodge driver Kurt Busch will start Sunday’s LENOX Industrial Tools 301 from the fourth position after turning in a lap of 28.352 seconds (134.340 mph) in this afternoon’s qualifying session “That was a good lap for our Shell-Pennzoil/AAA Dodge,” Busch said after making his run. “We picked up from practice and that’s what you always want to do. We were a little confused as to whether we needed to really try and get it on the first lap or stick with our plan of getting it on our second lap. We saw with the sticker tires in practice that we could run our faster lap on the second one.
The Penske Racing team ended the weekend in New England on Sunday with LENOX Industrial Tools 301 here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Busch in the Shell-Pennzoil/AAA Dodge driver had a solid top-three race car for the majority of Sunday’s race. He led two times for 66 laps (second most) and was still holding down a top-five spot until the final circuit around this flat 1.058-mile oval. But he came up a lap short in trying to stretch his mileage on the last run and had to coast to a 10th-place finish.
“It was a good hard-fought battle for our team,” Busch said after climbing from his car back in the garage area. As was the case for many of the competitors here this afternoon, Busch’s car seemed to be too loose on four tires and a two-tire stop proved more beneficial. For more information, click here.
- Keselowski Weekend in New Hampshire
On Saturday, July 16, 2011 Penske Racing Team continued their efforts in New Hampshire with Brad Keselowski and the No. 22 Ruby Tuesday Dodge Challenger. They set the recorded fastest lap time during Saturday’s qualifying session and earned pole position for the start of the New England 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He toured the 1.058-mile oval in 29.438 seconds, or 129.384 miles per hour.
In the afternoon Keselowski endured a wild finish that saw the race extended by six laps before he picked up his 12th top-10 finish of 2011. Keselowski began from the pole position, it marked the first NNS pole won this season for Keselowski, and the ninth series pole of his career. He chose the inside lane to begin the race, but the outside lane proved to be better as the green flag fell and Keselowski was forced back to the second position.
During the race No. 22 wasn’t handling to Keselowski’s liking. Despite some adjustments, Keselowski continued to deal with a loose-handling condition as the race moved toward the halfway mark. Keselowski was able to stormed to the lead of the event at lap 132. He remained in the top spot for 22 laps before relinquishing the position due to a tight-handling condition that had developed in the Ruby Tuesday Dodge. After falling back to seventh place, Keselowski caught a break in the form of the sixth caution period of the afternoon. He came down pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments to the wedge and air pressure. He restarted the race in the 15th position at lap 173.
NHMS is known as a track where passing is tough, but Keselowski began making a furious charge to the front of the field with his fresh Goodyear radials. By lap 180 he had raced his way back to the sixth position and he began a hard-fought battle for top spots. It was a valiant effort but Keselowski finish the 200 lap race in eighth place. Following Friday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 22 team are ranked seventh in the Nationwide Series owner point standings. For more information on the race, click here.
Penske Racing Team had a very eventful weekend in New Hampshire. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now gets its final off weekend next week before coming back to action for the final 17 weeks straight. Next on tap for the Penske team is Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 31.