Team Penske Quicken Loans 400 Race Preview
June 10, 2014
Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway (two-mile speedway, Brooklyn, Mich.)
Sunday, June 15, 1:00 pm ET
The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion
Driven by Brad Keselowski
The No. 12 SKF Ford Fusion
Driven by Juan Pablo Montoya
The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion
Driven by Joey Logano
THE NEWS AND NOTES
The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion driven by Brad Keselowski
· CLOSE TO HOME: Brad Keselowski, the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, hails from nearby Rochester Hills, Mich. and the Michigan race presents a homecoming along with a very busy schedule. The event activities start on Thursday with a day at Ford headquarters in Dearborn and then later that evening Keselowski will visit The Chase in Jackson for a Miller Lite appearance.
· TOO CLOSE CALLS: Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team have finished second in each of the last two races. The strong performances moved the team into fifth in the series standings and they are well positioned for a berth in the Chase with one victory, six top-fives and seven top-10 finishes to date.
· STRONG START STREAK CONTINUES: Through the first 14 races of the season, Keselowski has qualified third or better in 10 races. He has earned two-poles and a career best eight front-row starts so far in 2014.
· TWO WEEKS OF LIMELIGHT: Over the next two weeks Keselowski will be getting his fair share of media exposure. On Tuesday of this week he participated in a NASCAR media teleconference and a press advance for the upcoming event at Sonoma Raceway. On the Monday after the Michigan race, he will visit Los Angeles, Calif. to tape an episode of the TBS TV show “Sullivan and Son.”
THE Q & A
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD
HOW MUCH ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO RETURNING HOME TO RACE THIS WEEKEND AT MICHIGAN?
“This weekend will likely see some of the highest speeds of the season. The track surface along with the aero characteristics of these cars ought to combine for what I expect to be record-breaking speeds. Racing in Michigan holds that touch of added significance as it is a home race for me and since we’ve yet to win here, there is additional motivation to get to Victory Lane. Our Ford Fusions have had great speed lately and we’ve been really close to winning the last couple of races. We are ready to move up that one last spot and get a victory at home.”
PAUL WOLFE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD
THIS TEAM HAS FINISHED SECOND THE LAST TWO TIMES AT THE TRACK, IS THIS THE WEEKEND TO WIN?
“Our recent results have been pretty decent. Still we are constantly working to improve in all areas of our program. I tend to look at the race results like a report card, if we finish up front we’re doing all right, but we always have room to get better. Brad has been doing a great job behind the wheel and our Miller Lite crew has been executing well at the track. All the people back at the shop have been building solid cars and our Ford Fusions have been fast. With this being a home race for Brad and for Roger (Penske), as well as just missing those last two, we want this one real bad.”
THE NEWS AND NOTES
The No. 12 SKF Ford Fusion driven by Juan Pablo Montoya
· DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK: A seven-year veteran of the NASCAR Cup Series (NSCS) (2007-2013), Juan Pablo Montoya will make his first NSCS start of the season – and first series start for Team Penske – this weekend at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). He will also pilot the No. 12 Ford Fusion in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July.
· MICHIGAN STATISTICS: Montoya has made a total of 14 NSCS starts at MIS with his best finish of sixth coming in the 2009 edition of this event.
· OPEN WHEEL AGAIN: For the 2014 season, Montoya made the move back to the open-wheel ranks to compete in the IndyCar Series. He currently sits seventh in the series point standings, 147 points behind leader and Team Penske teammate, Will Power. Montoya has scored three top-five finishes at Long Beach, Indianapolis and Texas, respectively. He is coming off his top finish of the season with a third-place result last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
· FLYING THE SKF COLORS: For the first time in his career, Montoya will drive a car featuring the SKF colors. SKF has been a partner of Team Penske since the 2011 season. The leading global technology provider previously adorned the No. 12 Ford in Ryan Blaney’s NSCS debut last month at Kansas.
THE Q & A
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 12 SKF FORD
DRIVERS ALWAYS GO INTO AN EVENT TO WIN. KNOWING YOU HAVEN’T BEEN IN A CUP RACE SINCE LAST YEAR, IS THAT YOUR PRIMARY GOAL?
“Absolutely our goal is to win the race. Michigan is a huge race for Roger (Penske) and for the manufacturers. It would be an honor for me to be able to do that for them. We tested the No.12 SKF Ford several weeks ago at Nashville and it was really quick. I felt like I got up to speed in no time. That said, we realize that it’s going to be difficult. The Cup Series is always evolving so when you aren’t in the car every week you can get behind easily. But I have two teammates that are among the fastest drivers every race, so I know the speed will be there to contend.”
GREG ERWIN, CREW CHIEF, NO. 12 SKF FORD
HOW MUCH ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH JUAN MONTOYA?
“Juan Montoya is a world-class driver. Any crew chief would want to work with a driver with that kind of experience. The thing I’m looking forward to the most is seeing how we can make each other better. I was amazed at how quickly he got up to speed when we tested at Nashville. He was literally full speed by the time he got to the backstretch in a style of car he hasn’t touched since November, while competing in a completely different series. It’s going to be a fun weekend. Obviously we aren’t worrying about points, so we are able to lay it on the line. Not to look down the road but we are also trying to build a notebook for the Brickyard. That’s a race that Mr. Penske really wants to win as well.”
THE NEWS AND NOTES
The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion driven by Joey Logano
· A FORMER WINNER: For the second-straight week, Joey Logano comes into race weekend with an added advantage – the confidence of being a former race winner at the track. Logano won last year’s Pure Michigan 400, notching his first Sprint Cup Series win for Team Penske. During the weekend, Logano also established a new track record of 203.949 mph, while winning the pole for the event.
· THE START OF A BUSY MONTH: Logano will probably not remember what his home in Cornelius, NC will look like after the month of June. Logano will spend little time at home, beginning this week. Logano will visit New York City on Monday for a media tour, spend Tuesday and Wednesday testing in Chicago and on Thursday he’ll visit Ford headquarters in Dearborn before heading to MIS.
· DOUBLE DUTY AGAIN: Logano will again be pulling double duty at Michigan, racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Saturday afternoon. Michigan is a place where he is a former NASCAR Nationwide Series winner as well, winning in 2012.
· FORD RACING PRIDE: Logano will join the rest of the Ford Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series drivers at Ford headquarters on Thursday afternoon. Logano will get to tour the facilities, learn about new products and, his personal favorite, and drive some of the newest models on the Ford test track.
THE Q & A
JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD
IS IT HARD WHEN YOU ARE SO BUSY TO STAY FOCUSED ON THE UPCOMING WEEKENDS?
“It can be, but you just try as hard as possible to give yourself as much downtime as you can. They do a good job as well to try and make the travel as easy on you as possible. Thankfully, we have a couple of wins under our belt and we aren’t sitting there looking for wins and feeling the pressure of that. We can focus on just going out there and getting more wins and running the best we can and focusing on things to learn for the Chase. A lot of the busy time during the next month is testing, and you can always learn something doing a little testing.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL LOOKING BACK ON YOUR FIRST WIN FOR ROGER PENSKE LAST YEAR AT MICHIGAN?
“It was huge. It was a big deal for sure. I wanted to win so badly and I felt we were close a bunch of times before that. I wanted to prove to Roger and (crew chief) Todd (Gordon) and the guys on the team that they made the right decision in bringing me over here. It also proved to me that I could do it. And that has showed this year. We kept that confidence over the off-season and we have kept it going into this year. So you can look back at that win and I feel a lot of it started in Michigan last year. Hopefully years from now, we can say that was the first of many, many wins for Roger Penske.”