Bristol, Tenn. (March 18, 2012) — Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 2 Miller Lite/WÜRTH Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), scored his first win of the 2012 season in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) on Sunday afternoon. Keselowski displayed a dominant car – leading a total of 232 laps – to score his second consecutive victory at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”
This is the first NSCS victory for WURTH, a great supporter of the No. 2 car. This is a recap of the huge win for the team.
Keselowski began the 500-lap event from the fifth position based on his qualifying lap of 15.367 seconds, or 124.865 miles per hour, during the Friday afternoon qualifying session. The Miller Lite/WURTH Dodge took several laps to come alive and, as a result, Keselowski dropped two spots at the drop of the green flag. When the handling condition came to Keselowski’s liking, the Rochester Hills, MI native began turning some of the fastest laps on the track. Disaster nearly struck at lap 24 as two competitors immediately in front of the Miller Lite machine made contact, setting off an incident that collected several contending cars. Keselowski was able to escape with only minor damage to the nose, which was repaired under the caution period. Keselowski restarted the race from the 10th position at lap 47, following a lengthy clean up.
As the race resumed, Keselowski radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that his car had excellent stability on corner entry and great forward drive. His only complaint was that the car was a touch tight in the center of the corners. Keselowski was able to move up to the middle groove as he set his sights on the front of the field. The second of five cautions on the day fell at lap 116 with Keselowski running in the seventh position. After bringing his car to the attention of his pit crew for air pressure and track bar adjustments, Keselowski returned to action in the fifth position as the Miller Lite/WURTH crew continued their great pit work on the year.
Once again, Keselowski began turning some of the fastest laps on the track as he quickly worked his way into the second position. Once there he began to stalk race leader Brian Vickers like a lion after his prey. Following a great battle with the No. 55 car, Keselowski assumed the top spot at lap 218. He would continue to lead the field as green-flag pit stops, which occurred for the Miller Lite/WURTH team at lap 255, cycled out at lap 264.
Following a lap 347 restart, Keselowski entered into what would be a long, tough fight with the No. 17 of Matt Kenseth. The two drivers raced hard and clean, giving the fans exactly what they expect to see at the famed BMS oval. They would swap the top spot several times before Keselowski took control again at lap 391. A late-race caution flag at lap 477 provided Keselowski and Wolfe an opportunity to either stay out for track position, or pit for fresh tires. Wolfe kept his driver on the racing surface as Kenseth followed suit. Keselowski was able to hold off the former Cup Series champion to secure a hard-fought victory.
Penske Racing teammate, AJ Allmendinger was credited with a 17th-place finish in Sunday’s Food City 500.
“This Miller Lite/WURTH Dodge here, a brand new car that Penske Racing built, everybody back in the shop did a phenomenal job,” said Keselowski. “The last few races have been really good, and I knew we had a shot at winning one if we ran like we had over the last few weeks. You know Matt (Kenseth) didn’t make it easy. He raced me hard and I raced him hard. We rubbed a little bit, but that’s good racing. I don’t know how anyone can say Bristol racing isn’t as good as it’s ever been.”
Following Sunday’s event, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite/WURTH Dodge team are ranked 13th in the driver point standings and 14th in the owner point standings.
Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite/WURTH Dodge team will move on to Auto Club Speedway next Sunday, March 25, for the Auto Club 400. Coverage will be seen live beginning at 2:30 pm EST on FOX. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.
Brad Keselowski Food City 500 Race Statistics
Laps Led: 4 times for 232 laps
Points Position: 13