Keselowski Earns First Nationwide Win of '09
DOVER, Del. (May 30, 2009) – Brad Keselowski and the No. 88 GoDaddy team scored its first victory of the season by winning Saturday’s Heluva Good! 200 at Dover International Speedway. It was Keselowski’s third career NASCAR Nationwide Series victory, and first sporting the GoDaddy.com colors on his No. 88 Chevrolet. He ran among the leaders for the entire race, and took advantage of Kyle Busch’s misfortune with two laps to go. He passed Busch and Joey Logano on a green-white-checkered finish to take the win. JR Motorsports teammate Ryan Newman, in his first race in the No. 5 Fastenal Chevy, finished 32nd after two accidents crippled his debut. Logano finished second, Clint Bowyer third, Brian Vickers fourth, and Carl Edwards fifth.
No. 88 GoDaddy.com Team / Keselowski
Start – 12th / Finish – 1st / Laps Led – 2 / Points – 180 / Point Standings – 5th
Starting 12th and running in the top-10 the entire afternoon, Keselowski ran a patient race and found himself in prime position when the race’s ninth caution came out inside 10 laps to go. Keselowski was in third place behind leader Busch, who had dominated the afternoon leading 108 laps, and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Logano.
Keselowski got to that point by methodical gains, both on the track and on pit road. Crew chief Tony Eury Sr. called only for slight air pressure adjustments on the team’s final two pit stops as the balance of the car finally came in for the GoDaddy team.
While tire wear was the biggest issue of the day for most teams, it wasn’t for Keselowski. A caution on lap 140 forced the team to decide whether to pit for fresh tires or stay on track for position. Ultimately they opted for track position, and stayed out while many other teams dipped to pit road.
“Track position was really important,” said Eury Sr. “We started 12th and just eased our way up through there. Track position was really bad today. It seems like it gets worse and worse every race. We have run good the last three times we have been here, we have been second, we have been third, we have been like a runner-up car every time, so this time we came here with the intentions of tuning on what we have been running and make some changes to see if we can make it better.”
Keselowski was in third position on a lap-199 restart when the two Joe Gibbs Racing teammates – Logano in second and Busch in first – made contact after Busch’s tire went flat. The contact caused both cars to shoot up the track, leaving the door open for Keselowski. The GoDaddy.com Chevy passed both on the bottom of the track. He was then able to hold off Logano and Bowyer to take the checkers. The only laps Keselowski led all day were the final two.
"We had a great car, and we put ourselves in position to win,” Keselowski said in Victory Lane. “We needed a break, and we caught a break. I don't feel guilty about it; not one bit. I saw the 18 slow down and the 20 making a basic maneuver. I just saw a hole, went for the hole and I made it. I was there and ready for it, and it worked out. This team and GoDaddy.com deserve this win.”
"We were just able to capitalize on what happened," team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. "Brad drove a smart race. He had an awesome car. We're real happy. It's good for our team. We needed a win. We needed some momentum and something to put confidence back in the team. Our guys are really pumped up. They'll enjoy this."