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Points leader Brad Keselowski overcomes brake fire during Montreal final practice

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

MONTREAL - A brake fire during Saturday’s second practice session had the No. 22 Dodge of Nationwide Series points leader Brad Keselowski trailing smoke as Keselowski drove it to his garage stall. As his crew jacked the car and removed the tires to address the problem, Keselowski carefully wiped the smoke residue from the windshield and the right rear wheel quarter panel.

"There was a small problem with the brakes, getting too hot and catching the back half of the car on fire," said Keselowski, who qualified eighth. "But it’s just fire. It’s no big deal. We’re in good shape—ready to go."

That doesn’t mean the No. 22 Dodge team dismissed the incident.

"It’s a serious concern for us right now that our car’s going to catch fire in the middle of the race," Keselowski said. "Every year, racecars get faster and progress, and NASCAR put a cap on the brakes we’re allowed to use. There are rules about what braking systems are allowed, to try to cut costs for the series.

"Essentially, as the years have progressed, the cars have gotten faster and exceeded those brakes’ capabilities to keep up with the cars. The challenge for us as drivers in the race is to manage our brakes. Sometimes, in order to do that, we have to do things—the team does—to keep up with them, whether it’s cooling or whatever.

"All the stuff it takes to keep the (brakes) cool occasionally catches fire. It’s kind of a balancing act between having too much and risking catching fire—or not having enough and not having any brakes at the end of the race."