|SOURCE: Brian Keselowski's Facebook Page|
Brian Keselowski picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his NASCAR Nationwide Series career in Friday’s Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at the Richmond International Raceway when his unsponsored #47 Key Motorsports Chevrolet fell out with an ignition problem after 2 of the race’s 250 laps.
The come-from-behind story of SpeedWeeks 2011, Keselowski and his #92 Sprint Cup team have faced an uphill struggle ever since. After several DNQs and withdrawals following their run in the Daytona 500, Keselowski and team made the shift to Chevrolet at Michigan, only to miss that race as well.
Following the team’s most recent attempt at Loudon, where Dennis Setzer was unable to get the car into the field, Keselowski was offered a job as spotter and “start-and-park” driver for Key Motorsports. Keselowski’s first start for Key’s #47 team came at Iowa, where he finished 42nd after four laps. Coming into Richmond, he had made the race at Bristol, but failed to qualify at Watkins Glen and Atlanta.
At Richmond, Keselowski qualified 29th at a speed of 119.437 mph, good enough to not only make the race, but rank him seventh among the nineteen “go-or-go-homers” who attempted to qualify.
After the first lap of Friday’s race, Dennis Setzer, driving the #48 of a new second team for Jay Robinson Racing, was the first to go behind the wall, followed by both Keselowski and Matt Carter’s Rick Ware-owned #71. Setzer and Carter both returned to run a handful more laps, but Keselowski’s car retired, leaving him with the 43rd place finish.
In addition to his Nationwide Series duties, Keselowski has also become the spotter for Front Row Motorsports’ #55 Sprint Cup team, driven Saturday by J.J. Yeley.
*This was Keselowski’s first last-place finish of the 2011 season. His two other last-place finishes also came in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The most recent of the two also came at Richmond when his #92 DoubleTree Hotel / K-Automotive Motorsports Dodge fell out with brake problems after 5 laps of the 2010 BUBBA Burger 250. Keselowski’s only other last-place finish was back in 2006 when his Keith Coleman-owned #23 Ridley Motorcycles Chevrolet was involved in a single-car crash on Lap 25 of the Wypall 200 at Phoenix.
*The #47 had not finished last in a Nationwide Series race at Richmond since 1998, when Andy Santerre’s Monro Muffler Chevrolet fell out with a fuel pump failure after 15 laps of the Hardee’s 250.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #47-Brian Keselowski / 2 laps / ignition
42) #46-Chase Miller / 4 laps / transmission
41) #03-Scott Riggs / 7 laps / overheating
40) #49-Mark Green / 8 laps / brakes
39) #48-Dennis Setzer / 9 laps / brakes
LASTCAR N’WIDE SERIES DRIVER’S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Jeff Green (8)
2nd) Brett Rowe (3)
3rd) Kelly Bires, Johnny Chapman, Dennis Setzer (2)
4th) Matt Carter, Kevin Conway, Marc Davis, Mike Harmon, James Hylton, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Brian Keselowski, Blake Koch, Justin Marks, Scott Wimmer (1)
LASTCAR N’WIDE SERIES OWNER’S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #44-TriStar Motorsports (8)
2nd) #55-Faith Motorsports (3)
3rd) #25-Ed Rensi, #47-Key Motorsports, #49-Jay Robinson Racing (2)
4th) #0-JD Motorsports, #13-Jennifer Jo Cobb, #27-Baker Curb Racing, #41-Rick Ware Racing, #68-Fleur-De-Lis Motorsports, #74-Mike Harmon, #75-Rick Ware Racing, #82-MacDonald Motorsports, #87-NEMCO Motorsports, #03-R3 Motorsports (1)
LASTCAR N’WIDE SERIES MANUFACTURER’S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (21)
2nd) Ford (5)
3rd) Dodge (1)