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Penske Racing Bank of America 500 Race Preview

October 9, 2013




THE RACE

Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval, Concord, NC)
Saturday, October 12, 7:30 pm ET

THE CARS

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion
Driven by Brad Keselowski

The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil/Hertz Ford Fusion
Driven by Joey Logano


THE BROADCAST

Race: Bank of America 500
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Date: Saturday, October 12
Race Start Time: 7:30 pm ET  
Radio Broadcast: Live on PRN Radio and SIRIUS XM Channel 90

TV Schedule:
Thursday
· 3:30 pm ET, Practice (FS1)
· 7:00 pm ET, Qualifying (ESPN2)
Friday
· 3:00 pm ET, Practice (FS2)
· 5:30 pm ET, Final Practice (FS2)   
Saturday
· 7:30 pm ET, Bank of America 500 (ABC)
 

THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion
Driven by Brad Keselowski


· WINNER, WINNER: While Keselowski has yet to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS), he does own two career victories (2010 and 2012) in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the 1.5-mile oval.

· CHARLOTTE POLE POSITION: In 2011, Keselowski won the pole position for one of NASCAR’s crown jewel races, the Coca-Cola 600 at CMS.

· ONE YEAR AGO: In the 2012 Bank of America 500 at CMS, Keselowski appeared on his way to his first NSCS victory at the legendary circuit after leading a race-high 139 laps. His chances, however, ended when he ran out of fuel on the next-to-last run of the race. He hopes to have another opportunity this weekend.

· APPROACHING A NEW RECORD: The combined record for top-five finishes in a season by Penske Racing is 21, established during the 2001 season. This year, Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano have combined for a total of 17 top-five finishes, putting the record squarely within reach.

· ESPN IMMERSION PROGRAM: For the third-consecutive year, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team will take part in the ESPN Immersion Program at CMS. Each year NASCAR invites members of the cable network out to be paired up with a NSCS team as a continuing-education initiative for the broadcast partner. Long-time ESPN anchor, Linda Cohn, will serve as the honorary crew member this year.

· NEW ONLINE STORE: Last week Penske Racing debuted a newly-designed online store, found online at http://store.penskeracing.com. This new site provides fans with a state-of-the-art buying experience for all their Penske Racing needs, including current and historical gear from one of the winningest organizations in all of sports.

· LOCAL TIES: Two pit crew members on the Miller Lite Ford hail from the Charlotte area. Jackman Braxton Brannon is from Mooresville, N.C., while front tire changer Ben Brown is from Charlotte. Brown is a former baseball player at Davidson College in northern Mecklenburg County.
   
THE Q & A

BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD

YOU’VE ACCOMPLISHED A LOT IN YOUR SHORT CAREER. WHAT WOULD A CUP SERIES WIN AT CHARLOTTE MEAN TO YOU?

“Everyone wants to win at Charlotte. If we were able to do that this weekend it would rank right up there as one of my biggest wins. We’ve been fortunate to win the Bristol night race. We’ve won at Talladega. Those are some ‘glamour’ places to win, if you will. We’ve had some really fast cars at Charlotte in the past. We sat on the pole for the (Coca-Cola) 600 in 2011 and I really thought we were in position to win this race last year before we ran out of fuel. If we can put our Miller Lite Ford Fusion in Victory Lane on Saturday night it would definitely be one of the biggest highlights of my career.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT SOME OF YOUR CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED THIS SEASON?

“It sure feels like if things can go wrong, they will this season Last weekend’s race was a perfect example. It was a crazy race, for sure. We battled our tails off and made good pit calls to get the lead late in the race, only to run out of fuel. I’m not saying we would’ve beaten the 29 car because he was strong, but we were better than a 17th-place car. We are a tough team and we don’t make excuses, but it just gets to the point where it frustrates the hell out of you. You just have to put it in the rearview and focus on the next race. That’s what we’ll do. We’ll be ready for Charlotte and I think we’ll have a fast car again.”


THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil/Hertz Ford Fusion
Driven by Joey Logano


· SLOWLY CLIMBING:  On the strength of another top-five finish, Joey Logano once again finds himself in the top 10 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. Logano’s fourth-place finish at Kansas last weekend vaulted him two positions in the point standings to 10th.  The 23-year-old now sits less than 25 points out of the top five and just 34 points out of third place.

· HELLO TO HERTZ: The Hertz Corporation, one of the world’s leading car rental and transportation companies and a first-year sponsor with Penske Racing, will have its logo on the side of the No. 22 Ford Fusion this weekend in Charlotte serving as a co-sponsor with Shell-Pennzoil. Hertz has been a proud supporter of the No. 22 NASCAR Nationwide Series Mustang this season, where the company has won five of six races as a primary sponsor.

· STATS STILL SAY CHARLOTTE THE BEST:  When you add in his second-place finish in the Sprint All-Star race and fifth-place finish in the Coke 600 in May, Logano’s stats tell the tale of Charlotte Motor Speedway being his best track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. In nine points-paying races there, he’s earned three top-five and six top-10 finishes. His average finish of 9.6 is his personal best of all the tracks on the circuit and it’s also leads all current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers.

· CAREER NUMBERS:  With his fourth-place finish at Kansas, Logano extended his career-best numbers for top-five results.  His 10 top-five finishes this year eclipsed his previous career-best of seven, which came in 2010.  He’s also tied his career-best single-season top-10 finish number of 16, which he also accomplished in 2010. Only drivers Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson have more top-five finishes this season than Logano.  Only Jonson, Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have more top-10 finishes this season than Logano.

· TESTING, TESTING AGAIN:  Logano, along with his teammate Brad Keselowski, and a host of other Sprint Cup Series drivers are testing at the half-mile Martinsville Speedway track this week in preparation for the Chase race at the “paperclip” on October 27.  Despite starting fourth in the sprint at Martinsville, Logano struggled with a 23rd-place finish.

THE Q & A

JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL/HERTZ FORD

WHY HAVE YOU BEEN SO GOOD AT CHARLOTTE DURING YOUR CAREER?

“Charlotte is just one of my favorite tracks. And that’s not just because I’ve always been pretty good there. I just love racing at Charlotte and I’ve happened to have a lot of success there  I don’t’ know what it is about it. It just suits my driving style and I have a lot of confidence when we go there. And this year, we have already run there twice and have two top-five finishes and I feel like we have a great notebook to work from. We have really been pretty good at the 1.5-mile tracks this year, especially as of late.  If you look at the remaining schedule, I feel like Charlotte is probably our best track and the best shot we have to win.”

YOU HAVE 10 TOP-FIVE FINISHES THIS YEAR, WHICH IS A CAREER BEST.  WOULD YOU CALL THIS YOUR BEST YEAR?

“For sure. I think this has been my best year in the Cup Series. I feel like we have even been better than our results show. You look at the numbers and we really should be top-five in points and should have been all year long I think. We have just had a few untimely issues that have knocked us back down and we’ve had to do a lot of fighting from behind.  If some of those 40th-place finishes would have at least been 15th or 20th place finishes, that’s a lot of extra points. But this has been a big year for me. I feel like we are considered legitimate contenders each and every week now.”