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Team Penske Sprint All-Star Race Preview

May 13, 2014




THE RACE

Sprint All-Star Race
Charlotte Motor Speedway (1.5-mile speedway, Concord, NC)
Saturday, May 17, 9:00 pm ET

THE CARS

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

The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion
driven by Joey Logano
 

THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

· SO MANY TWOs: In the last two years, Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Team Penske Ford finished 22nd in last year’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star race following a runner-up result in the 2012 event.

· HOME FOR FOUR: On top of his driving duties in the All-Star race on Saturday evening, Keselowski is scheduled to compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday, the Nationwide Series race on the following Saturday, May 24 and then the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 25.

· WHITE LITE ALL-STAR NIGHT: The No. 2 Team Penske Ford returns to its Miller Lite livery for the All-Star race. The white Ford Fusion driven by Keselowski has acquired a couple of popular monikers this year including the “White Lite” and the “Blanco Deuce.”

· FUN-FILLED WEEK WITH FORD: Racing in the Charlotte area for a couple weeks gives the drivers and teams the opportunity to stay home and invite friends to work. Team Penske took the opportunity to welcome Ford executives to a dinner at their facility in Mooresville, NC on Monday night. On Tuesday, Keselowski and Logano gave rides to Ford executives and media members at Charlotte Motor Speedway in specially-prepared two-seat cars that Keselowski uses for his Checkered Flag Foundation ride-along events.

· SIXTH ALL-STAR START: Keselowski will make his sixth career start in the annual Sprint All-Star race this weekend. He made his debut in 2009, when he started 10th and finished 17th. His best result to date came in the 2012 race when he finished in second place.

· WINNING AT CMS: Keselowski will be looking to build on a winning tradition at Charlotte Motor Speedway over the next couple of weeks. He won the pole there in the fall race of 2011 and he scored a victory at Charlotte last season during the fall race.
    
THE Q&A

BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD

YOU’VE HAD MIXED RESULTS AT THIS EVENT, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE ALL-STAR RACE?

“The All-Star race is a terrific race for the fans to watch, and it is a fun race for the drivers too. I remember watching this race when I was growing up, and I always looked forward to it. We get to go all out for the win, and with the big payout most of the drivers will push just that little bit harder for the victory. It is a fun Saturday night for the team guys too as many of them have family and friends in the pits and stands which adds to the atmosphere and makes it just that much more festive. We’ve come close to winning this one, and I while I say it at all the races, I genuinely do want to win this one.”

WITH THE NEW CHASE FORMAT, IS YOUR APPROACH TO THE ALL-STAR RACE DIFFERENT FROM ANY OTHER RACE?

“Thinking about it, with the new Chase format, once you have won you pretty much treat every race the same, you race to win. Seconds, top fives and top 10s just don’t matter that much anymore. The All-Star race does have the added incentive of an unusually large prize and there are bragging rights to consider. One area that stands out is the qualifying format which is unique since it requires a pit-stop. This means that the pit-crews have a large influence on how well we qualify and that gives them a little more incentive as well.”


THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion

· NOT SATISFIED WITH SECOND:  Last season, Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion team finished second in the Sprint All-Star race, a career-best effort for the 23-year-old driver.  However, as he will say, if there is one race on the schedule that no one will ever remember who finishes second, it’s the Sprint All-Star event.

· SOLID HISTORY:  Logano has competed in the Sprint All-Star race three times over of the course of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) career.  He first raced in the event in 2009, when he finished eight after getting into the event via the Fan Vote during his rookie season. In 2010, Logano finished third and followed that up with his second-place result last season.

· CHARLOTTE IS HIS TRACK:  Of all of the tracks on the NSCS schedule, Charlotte remains Logano’s best track statistically. In 10-career points races at Charlotte, Logano has earned three top-five and six top-10 finishes over the years. On top of that, he’s earned two top-five and three top-10 finishes in three All-Star race appearances and has won a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte.

· A UNIQUE TWIST: One of the fan favorite parts of the All-Star race in Charlotte is the unique qualifying format, in which the drivers make three timed laps as well as a green-flag pit stop.  This year, qualifying for the race will take place just two hours before the start of the race, while it had traditionally taken place on Friday the last several seasons.

· GET THE ALL-STAR’S AUTOGRAPH: Logano will join all of the other drivers in the Sprint All-Star race on Friday, May 16, for a special autograph session at the Sprint Experience at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The session will run from 4:00-5:00 pm ET and participants will be limited to the first 100 wristbands. Fans can visit the Sprint Experience display for more details on the autograph session.


THE Q&A     

JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD

YOU HAVE FINISHED THIRD AND SECOND IN THE LAST TWO ALL STAR RACES.  DOES THAT MEAN THIS SEASON WILL RESULT IN A FIRST?

“I mean that is what you are here for, right?  You don’t come to the All-Star race to run second, third or 16th.  You want to come here to win the race and a million bucks.  I’ve said before, I finished second last year and you know who remembers that - no one.  There are no points, so you don’t worry about trying to finish third or fourth or anything.  You want to go for that win.  Plus, you can learn something for next week’s Coke 600 for sure.  If it looks like the weather will be close, you can see what certain adjustments are going to do for your car and such.  All that is good, but really, you just want to win this thing and lift that million dollar check at the end of the night.”

IN YOUR ROOKIE SEASON, THE FANS VOTED YOU INTO THE ALL-STAR RACE.  HOW SPECIAL WAS THAT, LOOKING BACK ON IT?

“As a rookie, I think it was great. I would have liked to have been able to race my way in in the Showdown or win a race early in the season, but I was still learning, so it would have been tough.  But it just goes to show you how powerful social media was, even in 2009.  I know they started a campaign on my Facebook page and it was big to try and get me voted into the race. And when my name was announced, it was pretty cool. To be able to say that the fans voted you in, especially as a rookie that they didn’t really know that much about, was nuts.  Hopefully though, that’s the last time that will have to happen for the rest of my career and we can keep winning races and getting ourselves into the show the right way.”