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Team Penske Oral-B USA 500 Race Preview

August 26, 2014




THE RACE

ORAL-B USA 500 – Atlanta Motor Speedway
Sunday, August 31, 7:30 pm ET

THE CARS
 
The No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion

Driven by Brad Keselowski

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


THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion

· ALLIANCE AT ATLANTA: This weekend the No. 2 Team Penske Ford will once again compete with Alliance Truck Parts (ATP) as its primary sponsor, racing in the distinctive yellow paint scheme. ATP, a leading truck parts manufacturer, recently announced that it has extended its partnership with Team Penske and the iconic No. 2 Ford Fusion.

· HOTLANTA DROUGHT: Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of the tracks the Keselowski has yet conquer. To date he has a career best finish of third at Atlanta, which came in his 2012 Sprint Cup Series Championship season.

· TEAM PENSKE PINNACLE: On the strength of another winning season and last weekend’s NASCAR sweep at Bristol, Team Penske is quickly approaching a rare motorsport accolade as the organization is just one win shy of 400 all-time major race victories.

· MORE MILLER LITE SPOTLIGHT: Keselowski spent a good portion of the day Tuesday leading into the Atlanta weekend shooting footage for upcoming episodes of the video feature #bartenderbrad. The spots will feature @keselowski dispensing sage advice and Miller Lite.

· CHASE-FOCUSED FORD FUSION: With only a couple of races left before the start of the all-new Chase for the Sprint Cup, the No. 2 Ford Fusion team is fine tuning itself to be in peak form for the upcoming post-season run.

· TWO BROTHERS ON THE NO. 2: A new addition to the No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford pit crew means that the team now has two brothers on one pit crew as Jeremy Ogles, a long time front tire carrier, has been recently joined by his brother, DeWayne Ogles, who will be a rear tire changer.

· DRIVER/OWNER RELATIONS: Last week at Bristol Motor Speedway, Keselowski captured a landmark victory as a driver and as an owner when he took the checkered flag in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The win, Keselowski’s first in the series, also made him the 25th driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s top touring series. He and his father Bob Keselowski are now part of the only Father-Son combination to both claim wins in the Truck Series.


THE Q&A

BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 ALLIANCE TRUCK PARTS FORD

THIS TEAM HAS A STRONG INTERMEDIATE TRACK PROGRAM AND YOU’VE YET TO CLAIM A VICTORY IN ATLANTA. WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND?

“Atlanta is yet another one of the tracks that we’ve run better than our results indicate. We’ve had some strong runs there though we have yet to earn the victory. It’s a great track – the racing surface is one that challenges drivers and I like that. The No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford team has been executing at a high level over the summer races and I feel good going into this weekend. The team has a great intermediate track program and we are looking to bring our best effort to Atlanta as we prepare for the Chase.”


PAUL WOLFE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 2 ALLIANCE TRUCK PARTS FORD

WHAT UNIQUE CHALLENGES DOES ATLANTA BRING TO A CREW CHIEF?

“I am not sure I would call them unique challenges, but Atlanta seems to require the perfect balance of mechanical grip and aerodynamics. The track surface is pretty tough on the tires, which in turn makes my job during the race easy – meaning we will very likely take tires every time we pit. Historically, we’ve run pretty well at Atlanta though our results don’t reflect it. We are treating this race like a dress rehearsal for the Chase and with the way the team has been performing, we should do alright.”

 

THE NEWS AND NOTES    

The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion

· ANOTHER STRONG WEEKEND: Joey Logano enters the Atlanta Motor Speedway weekend fresh off of his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the 2014 season. Last week’s win at Bristol allowed him to move up to fourth place in the points and the Chase Grid standings. Logano took the lead in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford at Bristol for the final time with just over 40 laps to go and held off teammate Brad Keselowski to take the victory. Logano led 76 laps over the course of the 500-lap event.

· LEADING LAPS… LOTS OF THEM:  With his 76 laps led at Bristol, Logano has now led a total of 721 laps in the Sprint Cup Series this season, the fourth most of all drivers.  Even more impressive, Logano’s 721 laps led this season is 61 more than the total number of laps he led in his entire career in the series (660 laps led between 2008 and 2013). Another impressive stat – Logano has led laps in 18 of the 24 races run thus far this season.

· SO CLOSE LAST YEAR: Coming into 2013, Atlanta had been one of Logano’s toughest tracks in terms of results on the Sprint Cup Series schedule, with his best finish being 18th and five finishes of 24th or worse.  However, something clicked in 2013 and Logano had one of the best cars of his career, leading 78 laps and finishing a close second in the event.

· DOUBLE DUTY: Logano will return to the seat of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) this weekend in Atlanta.  Despite three Sprint Cup Series wins, Logano is still looking for his first NNS win of the season.

· WELCOME ZACH: The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team welcomed a new member to the team last weekend in rear tire changer Zach Price.  It was the second time this season that the No. 22 team welcomed a new member of the team by visiting Victory Lane.

· A BUSY WEEKEND: There is no rest for the weary for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners. Logano will head to Atlanta on Wednesday to take part in sponsor events for AutoTrader.com, Coca-Cola and Discount Tire before the race weekend starts. It won’t be all work for Logano though, who will also get a chance to see a stand-up comedy set from legendary comedian Jay Leno, whom Logano met earlier this year when he visited Leno’s Garage while in town for the race at Auto Club Speedway.


THE Q&A

JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD

YOU HAVE SAID THAT YOUR CAR LAST YEAR IN ATLANTA WAS ONE OF THE BEST YOU HAD EVER HAD.  CAN YOU REPEAT THAT PERFORMANCE THIS YEAR?

“That was an amazing car. We were so fast.  We started 11th and we were able to drive to the lead in the first 25 laps of the race. The car was stuck to the bottom lane and we just trucked toward the front. It was pretty awesome. The car was so good. We just didn’t have the track position late in the race. We were chasing down the leader and with about five more laps, we could have won the race. But we just ran out of time. So hopefully, we can do that again this year. I’ve told (crew chief) Todd (Gordon) to do whatever it takes to bring me the same type of car this year. That was a lot of fun last year, despite not winning.”

HOW DID IT FEEL TO GET YOUR THIRD WIN OF THE SEASON?

“I think it just goes to show how strong this 22 team is. I was asked a lot last weekend if people are underestimating or overestimating our team, but I’m not concerned if people are doing either one of them.  We are focused on ourselves and doing what we have been doing every weekend.  We are fourth in points with three wins and we have four DNFs.  I think the most anyone else has in the top five is one or two.  That just goes to show that we have been strong every week, even the weeks we’ve had problems. But we just need to keep doing what we are doing and working together as a team. I don’t know if there is a more cohesive team right now than the 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford team.”