Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing No. 2 Miller Lite 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 March 18. Keselowski raced with a dominant car – leading a total of 232 laps – as he scored his second consecutive victory at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”
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 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 on the “Blue Deuce” came around to Keselowski’s liking, the Rochester Hills, MI., native began turning some of the fastest laps on the track. Keselowski avoided disaster 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 of the car, which was repaired during the caution period. Keselowski restarted the race from the 10th position at lap 47, following a lengthy clean up from the incident.
Once again, Keselowski posted some of the fastest lap times 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 claimed the top spot at lap 218. The Miller Lite Dodge visited pit lane on lap 255 as green-flag pit stops cycled through.
“This Miller Lite Dodge here (is) 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 Dodge team are ranked 13th in the driver point standings and 14th in the owner point rankings.
Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team next advance to Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 25, for the Auto Club 400.