Race Re-Cap – Orange County Speedway, “Summertime Showdown 200″, CARS X-1 Pro Cup Series – July 28, 2014

Brian Keselowski and team arrived at Orange County Speedway at 10:00am Saturday morning, ready to go. Once inside and unloaded, the crew started working on the No.29 Ford Fusion. This was Brian’s first time to OCS and really did not know what to expect aside from what he heard from other drivers who previously drove there.  After his very first practice run, he agreed the track was very rough as he had been warned. Between practice runs, some of his feedback was; “I need more bite off” and “the track is rough, car needs wedge“. The crew, led by Bob Keselowski, worked feverishly on the car making adjustments and trying different adjustments to give Brian the feel he was looking for. By the end of final practice Brian stated “The car is definitely better than when we started today, we’re going in the right direction“.

Brian’s No.29, “Darrell E. Jent Jr. LLC & Family”/ “Lillard’s Rug & Carpet Cleaners” Ford Fusion passed the CARS X-1 Pro Cup Series inspection process with no issues before qualifying and Brian went on to qualify in p8. The entire field of 12 race cars were only off by three tenths of a second. All the indications of a good race for drivers and fans who showed up in droves! The grandstands at OCS were packed tightly by 7:00pm when the Allison Legacy races began.

At approximately 9:00pm, the Cars X-1 Pro Cup Series took the green flag. Brian started in p8 and by lap 15 he moved up to p6. Caution was called on lap 29 and Brian’s only complaint was that the car was a little “free up off“. He restarted in p5 on lap 36.  Reid Wilson in the No.66 raced Brian hard, yet respectfully for position. On lap 42 Reid went on to claim p5 putting Brian in p6. Caution came out on lap 79 for a spin out (not involving Brian). He restarted p6 on lap 84. only 2 laps later, the caution flag waved once again, this time for debris on the track. The field went green again on lap 91 where Brian restarted p6. He was tagged in the rear by the No.2 car driven by Brady Boswell in turn 2 which caused Brian to go sideways. Fortunately he was able to save it and keep going unscathed but this dropped Brian back to p8 where he stayed until the yellow flag waved, indicating the half way break.

Brian pulled into his pit stall and the crew quickly went to work. They jacked up the car, changed 4 tires and filled the tank with VP fuel. Brian complained about having terrible drive off and being late loose during the first half of the race, so crew chief and driver agreed to make a big change on the car and they executed their plan perfectly during the mandatory 5 minute break. 

After the long pit stop, the CARS X-1 Pro Cup Series chooses the restart order for the second half of the race by having a random drawing of the cars that were in P1 to P8 just before the break. Fortunately, they chose No.29 for p1!

Brian’s P1 restart on lap 101 was perfect. He said all the adjustments made during the pit stop were working really well which resulted in him pulling away from the pack, leaving at least 5 car lengths between him and the second place car.  Everyone was happy and hopeful for a good finish. Brian was still in p1 when the caution came out on lap 117. As the green flag was waved on lap 124, Brian knew “something” happened to the car but could not pin point what it was. He just knew the car immediately stopped handling well and became real tight in the center and very loose off causing him to loose the lead on lap 128. He dropped down to p4 by lap 130 and down to p5 by lap 134. Brian had to fight the car and do everything possible not to loose control or wreck as he dropped further down to p8 by lap 154. Officials black flagged Brian on lap 168 of 200 and ordered him to pull off the track for leaking fluids. As soon as he pulled into his pit stall, the crew surrounded the car searching for the speculated leak. It was only when they opened the hood, did they find the culprit responsible for ended their night, just 31 laps shy of the checkered flag. Sadly, the radiator fan broke and blew a hole through the oil cooler, spewing oil everywhere. As Brian shared his disappointment he said,  “This isn’t how we wanted to finish by any means, but you can’t drive a race car in your own oil. We’ll get it fixed and hopefully be back for the next one“.

Brian Keselowski finished 10th in the “Summertime Showdown 200″ at OCS.

Brian sincerely thanks all his sponsors who were at the race and on the car to show their support and hopes they continue to remain on board for the rest of the season.

If anyone has a question/comment for Brian Keselowski, please direct them to him at Brian.BKMotorsports@gmail.com. If Brian chooses your question/comment, it will be answered in a future “Blog” post on BrianKeselowski.com.

If anyone is interested in partnership opportunities at Brian Keselowski Motorsports, please direct all inquiries to Jennifer Calandrillo at Jen.BKMotorsports@gmail.com.

                                  

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