Penske Racing GoBowling.com 400 Race Preview
July 31, 2013
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway (2.5-mile oval – Long Pond, Pennsylvania)
Sunday August 4, 1:00 pm ET
No. 2 REDD’S Apple Ale Ford Fusion driven by Brad Keselowski
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion driven by Joey Logano
Race: GoBowling.com 400
Track: Pocono Raceway
Date: Sunday, August 4
Race Start Time: 1:00 pm ET
Radio Broadcast: Live on MRN and SIRIUS XM Channel 90
· 1:00 pm ET, Practice (SPEED – tape delayed)
· 3:10 pm ET, Qualifying (SPEED)
· 9:00 am ET, Practice (SPEED)
· 11:30 am ET, Final Practice (SPEED)
· 1:00 pm ET, GoBowling.com 400 (ESPN)
THE NEWS AND NOTES
The No. 2 REDD’S Apple Ale Ford Fusion
· ROLLER COASTER RUN: In an up and down year for reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion Brad Keselowski, the focus over the next six weeks will be to solidify his position inside the Chase for the Sprint Cup cutoff mark. The good news is that Keselowski has averaged a finishing position of 4.2 over the next six races in 2011 and an eighth-place average finish at those events in 2012.
· FORMER WINNER: Just days after breaking a bone in his foot in a testing accident at Road Atlanta, Keselowski willed his way to victory in the 2011 “fall” race at Pocono Raceway. The victory was the second of the season for Keselowski and helped propel him into the 2011 Chase for the Championship.
· BRANCHING OUT WITH REDD’S: This weekend, the No. 2 Ford will branch out with a different paint scheme. REDD’S Apple Ale, a new product from MillerCoors, will adorn Keselowski’s ride for this weekend’s race at Pocono Raceway. Crisp like an apple. brewed like an ale. REDD’s is different to the core – the perfect ale for the curious drinker looking for a fresh, new kind of beer.
· DOUBLE DUTY: For just the eighth time this season, Keselowski will pull double duty by running in both the NSCS race and the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race on the same weekend. However, this is the first – and only – weekend where he will run non-companion races as the NNS will compete at Iowa Speedway on Saturday night.
· A FAMILY AFFAIR: Keselowski’s father, 1989 ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Bob Keselowski, made his only NASCAR Cup Series start at Pocono Raceway in 1994. Brad’s uncle, Ron Keselowski, picked up a win at the 2.5-mile triangle in the now-defunct USAC stock car division in April of 1974.
· MEET KESELOWSKI: Keselowski will make an appearance at Shenanigan’s, located at 100 South Lake Drive in Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania at 7 pm ET on Thursday, August 1.
THE Q & A
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD
WHAT KIND OF CONFIDENCE DOES IT GIVE YOU TO GO BACK TO A TRACK WHERE YOU’VE WON BEFORE?
“I wish I could tell everyone that we were going to put our 2011 setup in this weekend and that we were going to whip everyone’s butt. But, man, this new car has proven to be quite a bit different than the old car. Tracks where we think we would be good we’ve struggled and vice versa. We’ve still had speed, but it seems like different strategies and execution don’t seem to work with this car. I know what kind of team we have on the REDD’S Ford so I’m confident we can get it squared away. But any time you go back to a track where you’ve won before you definitely feel a bit better about what you can do.”
WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT YOUR WIN TWO YEARS AGO?
“The pain. I was in a lot of pain that weekend. Honestly, I wasn’t exactly sure that I could go the distance. There was nothing we could do to take away the physical pain of my injuries, so I spent a lot of time getting myself mentally prepared. But once I got in the car I was fairly comfortable. (Crew chief) Paul (Wolfe) and the guys gave me a great car, which made it easier. I think that win galvanized our team and led us to some great things.”
THE NEWS AND NOTES
The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion
· 50th TOP-10 RUN: With last weekend’s eighth-place finish at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Joey Logano recorded his 50th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top-10 finish. It gave Logano nine top-10 finishes after just 20 races in 2013, which puts him on track to surpass his career best mark of 16 top 10s in 2010. His nine top-10 runs this year already tops the total top-10s he had in the 2009 and 2011 seasons.
· SIX RACES, 35 POINTS: The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team is working hard to earn the number of points it needs to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup at the end of the year. With a half dozen races remaining before the Chase starts, Logano and the team need to make up about six points over the next six races in order to have a shot to make the Chase.
· QUALIFYING UP FRONT: Two of Logano’s five career Sprint Cup Series pole positions have come at Pocono Raceway. He earned the pole in the second race at the track in 2011 and again in the first race at the track last season, where he also set a track qualifying record.
· STATS TELL THE TALE OF A SOLID YEAR: Despite being ranked 18th in the point standings, Logano’s top-five and top-10 finishes tell the story of how strong the No. 22 has run in 2013. Logano’s five top-five finishes are more than eight drivers currently ranked ahead of him in points. And his nine top-10 finishes are also more than eight competitors that are in front of him in the standings.
THE Q & A
JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD
YOU LED LAPS AND FINISHED IN THE TOP 10 AT INDY. CAN YOU KEEP THAT MOMENTUM GOING?
“For sure we can keep everything going. We have run really well all year long. If you look at our races, there are only three or four where we can say that we missed it. And the two weeks before Indy, we had really fast cars and just fell victim to tire problems each week that really put us in a hole. We are contending and we are leading laps and we are running up front each week. If we continue to do that, we will make up the points and maybe even get a win or two before the Chase starts.”
HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO GETTING THAT WIN?
“I think we are right there. We just need to have a week where everything falls into place. I think if we can start the race off a little better and have a solid day in the pits, we can do it at any of the remaining tracks on the schedule. We always seem to be a little off at the beginning of these races and then we make the car better as the race goes on. If we can start off as a top 10 and then make it better and into a race-winning car, I know we can go out there and win. And that’s our one goal over these final six races before the Chase starts - win a few races.”