Keselowski’s Dover win puts SRT® Motorsports in front again.
Brad Keselowski won for the second time in three NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup races at Dover International Speedway Sunday to move SRT® Motorsports back to the top of the Chase standings. It was Keselowski's fifth win of the season, and it came at a track where his previous average finish was only 17th.
"I'm proud of the effort. This has been one of our weakest tracks," Keselowski said. "We ran up front all day. We might not have been in the lead, but we hung around in the top five. We just kept creeping around and creeping around and when you do that, you put yourself in position for good things to happen. That's what this No. 2 team has done the last two months. Man, if we keep doing this the next seven weeks it will be an awesome seven weeks. I'm just really, really proud of the effort today."
Keselowski's chance for winning at Dover was more unlikely than just what previous records showed. Kyle Busch dominated, leading 302 of the scheduled 400 miles. But the race became a fuel-strategy battle late, and Keselowski's No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team, led by crew chief Paul Wolfe, is one of the best in the business at saving fuel. Keselowski's Penske Racing Dodge squeezed out 89 laps on one tank of race gas after the final pit stop.
"An unbelievable day," said Wolfe. "That was the type of performance that we needed to stay in this championship and we showed today that we're going to continue to be there every week. Brad did a great job saving us some fuel there at the end to where we didn't have to fully back down. Dodge gives us great fuel mileage and all the guys back at the engine shop give this team engines that allow us to get the fuel mileage we need to win races like this."
Keselowski started 10th at the "Monster Mile" of Dover and ran in the top 10 throughout the event. The only sign of trouble all afternoon came when the team experienced a jack malfunction during a green-flag pit stop on Lap 151. Fortunately, the team got the No. 2 Dodge back on the track in front of the leaders to avoid going a lap down.
Keeping an eye on the fuel gauge was the only worry from that point on for Keselowski. In the waning laps he watched competitors succumb to empty fuel tanks. Teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin both had to stop for a splash in the stretch run and Jimmie Johnson was forced to lift off the accelerator or run dry, falling off the lead pace and opening the door for another Dodge win.
Teammate Sam Hornish Jr. also had a fast car in the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger but did not have racing luck to back it up. Hornish was caught by an untimely caution in the first half of the race and battled from behind most of the day. He finished 25th. "We just couldn't catch a break at all today," said Hornish. "We qualified fourth and had a car capable of running in the top 10. It was a disappointing day."
Jeff Gordon finished second with Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards rounding out the top five. Seven races remain with the next stop at Talladega Superspeedway.