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Brad Keselowski Expecting Unpredictable Race for Tires

Brad Keselowski Expecting Unpredictable Race for Tires

by October 11, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/The Fourth Turn

CONCORD, N.C. — Brad Keselowski snagged the Nationwide Series’ Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway last night, but the former series champion and current Chase driver had to go leap some hurdles to grab the victory.

The driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford would encounter issues with his Goodyear Eagles early on in the race when a tire that was going down caused the eventual winner to brush the wall. With the contact being so early into the race, Keselowski would rally back from his incident to lead 22 laps to claim the race win over Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, and teammate Ryan Blaney.

In his post-race press conference, Keselowski discussed his tire issue with the media and talked about what he and his team did to setup their No. 22 car that may have led to their issue. As Keselowski puts it, the issue came as a surprise considering that crew chief Jeremy Bullins did not put an aggressive setup into the race-winning car – a similar case to Keselowski’s Kansas Cup race last Sunday.

“I’m not going to pretend to play expert tonight, but Nationwide cars are different than Cup cars but generally Cup cars are worse than Nationwide cars,” Keselowski said last night. “I don’t know, Jeremy said the tires we had an issue with were built from a different time than the ones we didn’t have issues with or the Cup car.

“It’s hard to know. Looking back at Kansas, we didn’t have any issues in practice and then we did in the race. Kind of similar to tonight at Kansas, we had probably the least aggressive setup you could put in the car just because of anticipating there would be an issue and we still had a problem. Tonight, we again made it a point to have, again, one of the least aggressive setups we could have in the car and we still had the problem.”

The driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford in the Sprint Cup Series also talked about whether or not he expects the tires to be as unpredictable as they were in last night’s 200-lap race. The same compound that Goodyear provided to the Nationwide Series garage will be in use in tonight’s 334-lap race.

“I don’t know what’s causing it,” said Keselowski – the defending Bank of America 500 champion. “I don’t know how to tell you if it is or if it’s not going to be a problem. It seems very random. I don’t know what that means – so I can’t give you a great answer, I wish I could. If I could give you an answer, we’d all work around it. That’s the problem, nobody has an answer and it just seems to come out of nowhere.”

Keselowski’s performance with his set of Goodyears is cause for concern for the 2012 Sprint Cup champion. Entering this weekend, Keselowski expected to have a smooth weekend free of worries; after last night’s hiccup, he’s not so sure about that anymore.

“I don’t know – I feel like before tonight, I would have told you that I didn’t think we’d have any issues,” he said. “Then we had the incidents tonight and I’m not sure. Of the three races, Charlotte still remains in my eyes at the Cup level the best opportunity to control your destiny. Performance here, for this bracket, is very very critical. I don’t know. It’s definitely still the best of the three, but it’s not looking to be as strong as what it did before today.”

Keselowski will roll off 17th in tonight’s Bank of America 500 and will look to dig himself out of the hole that he sits in in the drivers’ standings after his 36th-place run in last Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.

The Bank of America 500 will air live on ABC tonight at 7:30 p.m EST with the Performance Racing Network (PRN) and SiriusXM Satellite NASCAR Channel 90 providing live radio coverage.

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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