Keselowski Weekend at Nashville Superspeedway
Brad Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger recorded the first fastest lap time during the qualifying session for the Federated Auto Parts 300 on Saturday. He toured the 1.3-mile oval in 30.871seconds, or 155.47 miles per hour. Penske Racing teammate, Sam Hornish Jr and the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger recorded the eighth fastest time by touring the oval in 31.074 seconds, or 154.431miles per hour.
Keselowski follows up his qualifying run finishing 12th in the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway later that day. Keselowski started from the pole and raced at the front of the field for the first 60 laps, but engine issues ultimately prevented a top finish. The reigning NNS champion battled for the final 114 laps with an ailing motor, but he managed to finish on the lead lap.
Keselowski began the 225-lap race from the first position after posting a lap of 30.871 seconds, or 155.47 miles per hour, during the Saturday afternoon qualifying session. When the green flag flew to begin the race, Keselowski and fellow Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards drove away from the field. Keselowski’s only feedback for the team was that he wanted his race car to have a bit tighter handling condition in the center of the corners. However, as the initial run progressed, Keselowski was very pleased with the No. 22 Discount Tire Challenger. When the cars entered pit road for the first stops on lap 60, Keselowski and Edwards were still battling for the lead. Crew chief Todd Gordon elected to make air pressure adjustments and fill the No. 22 machine with fuel. Keselowski then rejoined the field in the second position.
As the second run matured, Keselowski began to experience a very loose-handling condition on the Discount Tire Dodge. With adjustments along the way Keselowski rocketed to the lead shortly after taking the green flag again on lap 87. By lap 89, the No. 22 Challenger was the fastest car on the track.
On lap 111, spotter Joey Meier asked Keselowski to report water and oil temperatures in the car, suspecting an issue with the No. 22 Challenger. Keselowski reported that the fluid temperatures were abnormally high, indicating that there indeed was a problem. Gordon and the crew began to investigate the issue, identifying a failing cylinder, spark plug or valve spring as potential causes. Keselowski was instructed to continue pushing until there was an opportunity to fix the problem without losing track position. Keselowski fell back to sixth place before another caution flag flew on lap 128. Gordon called Keselowski down pit road to inspect the issue under the hood. The team determined that the problem was an internal engine issue and Gordon released Keselowski back onto the track with a full tank of fuel. Positioned as the last car on the lead lap, Keselowski returned to his pit stall for fresh Goodyear tires on lap 130.
Keselowski managed the ailing engine carefully over the next 50 laps. As he dropped to the 12th position by lap 175, Keselowski reported that the No. 22 Discount Tire machine was handling virtually perfectly everywhere on the race track and his only issue was the motor’s lack of power. On lap 176, NASCAR officials waived the caution flag citing debris on the racing surface. Gordon took advantage of the caution period and called Keselowski into the pits to check a spark plug wire. The crew worked diligently to investigate under the hood, while the car was filled with fuel. Gordon then released Keselowski ahead of the pace car in order to remain on the lead lap. On the following lap, Keselowski returned to his stall to continue the work under the hood. The crew was unable to repair the engine issue before Keselowski returned to the track once again to salvage his lead-lap position.
Over the final 40 laps, Keselowski battled Scott Wimmer for 13th place. Running just a half second off the leaders’ lap times, Keselowski showed incredible patience and skill in climbing from 14th to his finishing position of 12th.
Sam Hornish Jr. Finishes Sixth at Nashville
Also at NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger in the finished sixth in Saturday evening in the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway.
Hornish started from the eighth position, after posting a qualifying time of 31.074 seconds or 154.431 miles per hour, during Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session. The performance marked the fourth time that the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge started in the top-10 this season. The No. 12 Challenger started the race strong as Hornish quickly found a rhythm and started to gain track position. By lap 8, Hornish had made his way into the sixth position.
Hornish radioed to crew chief Chad Walter to tell him that the car ran well through the center of the turns, but Hornish was hoping to improve the handling exiting the turns. On lap 42 the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge made its way down pit road for the first stop of the evening. After the crew changed four tires, filled the car with fuel and made a track bar adjustment, Hornish returned to the track in the seventh position.
When the night’s first caution flag flew on lap 82, Hornish came down pit road where the Discount Tire crew gave him two right side tires, fuel and made a wedge adjustment. The No. 12 Dodge gained one position in the pits and restarted the race in sixth place.
As the race progressed, Hornish reported that he had to adjust the brake-bias in order to give the car a better entry into the corners. By lap 118, the entire field had settled into a rhythm and the cars were all running very similar lap times. With about 100 laps remaining in the event, Walter radioed Hornish and advised him to keep working on track position.
When the caution flag flew for the second time on lap 127, the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge again made its way down pit road for another four tire stop. This time the No. 12 crew also made an air pressure adjustment and removed tape from the nose of the car to allow more air to flow to the rear brakes. With only 90 laps to go, Hornish restarted in the seventh position and quickly made his way around the No. 66 car of Steven Wallace for sixth place.
The race continued and Hornish maintained his position within the top six. As the third caution flag of the evening was displayed for debris, Walter called for a four-tire stop, fuel, a track bar adjustment and a round of wedge in the right rear to improve the car’s performance in the center of the turns. Due to a radio miscommunication, Hornish remained on pit road a little longer than expected and restarted the race in the 11th position.
When the race resumed on lap 183, with only 42 laps to go, Hornish quickly made his way up to the ninth position and then continued to improve his lap times until he caught the No. 16 car of Trevor Bayne and the No. 32 car driven by Reed Sorenson. After he passed both cars, Hornish set his sights on the No. 31 car of Justin Allgaier, who was running in the fifth position. Hornish pushed Allgaier to the very end but finished in sixth place behind race winner Carl Edwards.