Team Penske O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge Race Preview

October 28, 2014


THE RACE

O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
Texas Motor Speedway
Saturday, November 1, 3:30 pm ET

THE CARS

The No. 12 Snap-On Ford Mustang
Driven by Ryan Blaney
    
The No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang

Driven by Joey Logano

 

THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 12 Snap-On Ford Mustang

· A NEAR WIN LAST TIME OUT: Ryan Blaney will return to the seat of the No. 12 Snap-on Ford Mustang this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The last time the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) raced, three weeks ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Blaney nearly pulled off a big upset with a car that was extremely tight. Behind the wheel of the No. 12, crew chief Greg Erwin put Blaney on just two tires with about 20 laps to go and Blaney was able to hold off the field, who were all on four fresh tires, for the lead until teammate Brad Keselowski took the lead with just a handful of laps to go. Blaney would go on to finish fourth in the event.

· SNAP-ON IS BACK: Snap-on Tools will return as the primary sponsor of Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang for the second time this season. Snap-on Tools is a leading global innovator, manufacturer and marketer of tools, equipment, diagnostics, repair information and systems solutions for professional users performing critical tasks. Snap-on Tools is one of the largest non-food franchise companies in the world, selling its products and services through franchisee, company-direct, distributor and Internet channels. In addition to the two races with Blaney (the other coming in Kentucky), Snap-on also sponsored Joey Logano on the No. 22 at Darlington Raceway earlier this season and again with Logano at Watkins Glen.

· THE LITTLE CREW THAT COULD: Texas will be the fourth race of the season for Greg Erwin and the No. 12 team.  Following Charlotte just a few weeks ago, Blaney mentioned how strong the No. 12 team was for “just a bunch of guys thrown together from the shop.”  In addition to Erwin, who has five-career Sprint Cup Series wins and one NNS win as a crew chief, the No. 12 team is made of mostly of guys who work in the shop on a regular basis and also comprise some members of the Team Penske test team.

· ON THE RISE: Despite running one less race thus far in 2014 than he did all of 2012, Blaney has already set career highs in wins, top-fives, top-10s, average start, average finish and laps led.  He has eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 12 starts this season.
    

THE Q&A

RYAN BLANEY, NO. 12 SNAP-ON FORD

YOU PRAISED THE NO. 12 TEAM FOLLOWING THE RACE IN CHARLOTTE.  ARE YOU EXCITED TO WORK WITH THEM AGAIN?

“Yeah, I’m excited to get back in the 12 car and work with Greg (Erwin) and the guys.  What most people don’t understand is that the guys that work on these cars and come to the track every single week have a lot of chemistry and know what to do, especially when something goes wrong. The 12 team are a bunch of guys that we have that normally just work at the shop and don’t really travel very much, so for them to work so well together and just have a pretty good system down when they get to the track is pretty cool to see.  To go out there with those guys, especially like we did in Charlotte, and have a chance to win was a lot of fun.”
 

GREG ERWIN, CREW CHIEF, NO. 12 SNAP-ON FORD

WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE TO WORK WITH RYAN THIS YEAR?

“Ryan is a heck of a talent.  He’s got what it takes to make it in this sport, and he will be here for a while I think. For as young as he is and for no more experience than he has in these cars, something like 20 races, he really gets how they drive, and he knows how to give good feedback.  I think his time in the Truck Series really helps him too.  He’s a guy I’d like to see in one of these cars full time. I think he could easily compete for Championships and race wins all year long.”
    


THE NEWS AND NOTES

 No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang

· TWO MORE CHANCES: Joey Logano will return to the seat of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.  Logano has just two more scheduled chances in 2014 to extend his streak of at least one NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) victory in a season. Logano has won at least one NNS race dating back to his first season in the series in 2008.

· CARING FOR KIERSTIN'S LEGACY: Texas Motor Speedway will play host to the "Caring For Kierstin's Legacy" Drive-In Movie Night on Saturday, Nov. 8, to initiate a memorial fund for Flower Mound, Tex. teenager Kierstin Eaddy that was fatally injured in a go-karting accident this summer. Eaddy’s image will also adorn the hood of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang this weekend as a memorial. Eaddy’s father Todd Eaddy is a long-time Texas-region Discount Tire employee. The monies raised from the "Caring For Kierstin's Legacy" Drive-In Movie Night will initiate a memorial fund for the 14-year-old Eaddy, who was involved in a tragic go-karting accident on July 20 during a sanctioned event on a course layout in a parking lot outside of Texas Motor Speedway.

· SEACHING FOR ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP: The No. 22 team sits 31 points to the good with three races to go in the 2014 NNS season in search of their second-straight Owners’ Championship. For Logano, he will be looking to be a part of his fourth NNS Owners’ Championship and his third-straight. In 2008, his first year in the Nationwide Series, Logano shared a ride with Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin and won the Owners’ Championship. In 2012, Logano again won the Owners’ title, sharing a ride with Hamlin, Mark Martin, Michael McDowell, Ryan Truex and Drew Herring then followed it up with his third last season with Team Penske and Brad Keselowski, Blaney and AJ Allmendinger.

· A RETURN TO TEXAS: Logano hasn’t raced an NNS race at the 1.5-mile track in Fort Worth since the 2012 season, when he ran both races at the track with finishes of 15th and 10th.  Logano’s career-best finish at Texas came back in 2010, when he started on the pole and finished second.  In nine starts at Texas, Logano has four top-five and six top-10 finishes.  Logano won his first of five 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races earlier this season at Texas.

· NO DNFS: One of Logano’s remarkable NNS career statistics is, in just 134-career starts, Logano only has five-career DNFs and has not had a DNF dating all the back to 2011 in Loudon.


THE Q&A

JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 DISCOUNT TIRE FORD

WHAT HAS MADE WINNING AT TEXAS IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES SO TOUGH OVER THE YEARS?

“It hasn’t been the cars; that’s for sure. I’ve always had really fast racecars when we go to Texas.  For some odd reason, it’s just a track I haven’t ever really been able to grasp when it comes to these Nationwide cars.  But I also feel like I’ve grown a lot as a driver since I raced there last. And I’m pretty excited to drive one of these Discount Tire Ford Mustangs there.  It will be the first time I get to drive for Team Penske at Texas in the Nationwide Series.  I know Brad has had a lot of success at the track over the years in the Nationwide Series, so I want to go out there and try and win the race.  That will help in the Owners’ Championship, but that will also allow me to win a race this year, which has been hard to come by in the Nationwide Series for some reason.”

CAN YOU TAKE ANYTHING FROM YOUR SPRINT CUP SERIES WIN EARLIER THIS YEAR?

“Not really.  The cars drive so differently and the track conditions change so much.  I think the thing that will help me the most is the past success of this No. 22 team and the notes that Jeremy Bullins and the entire team has to go on.  They’ve been really fast here, and Brad has a win or two here, so it’s something we can look at for sure. I’m just excited to get back in the Nationwide Series car and race for another win.”