Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Deuces Wild: Fuel pump problems stall winning bid

Fuel problems ran rampant this past weekend for Penske Racing as both Brad Keselowski and AJ Allmendinger experienced troubles during the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Sporting the phrase "Deuces Wild" on the rear of the Miller Lite Dodge, Brad Keselowski had one of the fastest cars late in the race and was in contention for the win, when on restart the No. 2 fell off the pace and hit pit lane. Initially it was believed that the car had run out of fuel but according to later reports the problem was with the system itself and not the amount of fuel in the tank. What would have surely resulted in a top-10 finish, and possibly a win, ended in disappointment as the "Blue Deuce" finished in the 32nd position eight laps down. 

It was a disappointing finish for the team who had battled back from an early speeding penalty that forced the No. 2 to the rear of the field during the first caution of the race. Yet, despite the problems, Keselowski praised his team for their hard work saying on Twitter, "Important for me, to defend my 2 team today. Great strategy & speed, we had the numbers crunched right... Just needed some on fuel system."

Unfortunately for Keselowski, fuel issues also plagued his run in Saturday's Nationwide Series race. While running in the top-5 Keselowski was forced to pit road after running out of gas. Although the car should have had enough fuel to sustain a long run, the team learned that for some reason the car was not taking fuel as it should have been during previous pit stops and that the tank was indeed empty. This malfunction caused the team to lose several laps and ended with a 23rd place finish.

Penske Racing teammate, AJ Allmendinger didn't fare any better in Las Vegas. Hoping to redeem himself after a poor finish in Daytona and Phoenix, Allmendinger and the "Double Deuce" started from the 14th position and quickly moved into the top-5 within the first 20 laps. From there things started to go downhill for the team. During the first caution period Allmendinger slid the No. 22 through his pit stall costing valuable time on pit road. Leading during a series of green flag pit stops later in the race, Allmendinger was able to pick up a bonus point.

Any chance the Pennzoil Dodge had of finishing in the top 10 ended when the same issue that ultimately ruined Keselowski's day struck the second Penske Racing car. After spending a total of 29 laps in the garage, Dinger returned to the track where he finished in 37th position. 

Although both of the Deuces (and Keselowski's NNS car) were strong, the fuel issues were too much for either to overcome and both drivers left "Sin City" down on their luck. 


Post a Comment