Penske Racing CHEEZ-IT 355 Race Preview
August 7, 2013
CHEEZ-IT 355 At The Glen at Watkins Glen International (2.45-mile road course, Watkins Glen, N.Y.)
Sunday August 11, 1:00 pm ET
No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion driven by Brad Keselowski
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion driven by Joey Logano
Race: CHEEZ-IT 355 At The Glen
Track: Watkins Glen International
Date: Sunday, August 11
Race Start Time: 1:00 pm ET
Radio Broadcast: Live on MRN Radio and SIRIUS XM Channel 90
· 12:00 pm ET, Practice (SPEED)
· 4:00 pm ET, Final Practice (SPEED)
· 11:30am ET, Qualifying (ESPN2)
· 1:00 pm ET, CHEEZ-IT 355 (ESPN)
THE NEWS AND NOTES
The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion
· GAINING GROUND: With his sixth-place finish at Pocono Raceway last weekend, Keselowski moved to within seven points of the top-10 cutoff for a spot in the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship.
· JUST ONE MORE SPOT: For the last three years the Miller Lite machine has finished second at Watkins Glen International (WGI) – once with Kurt Busch in 2010 and twice with Brad Keselowski in 2011 and 2012. In addition, Keselowski finished second in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at WGI last year.
· RUBBIN’ IS RACING: In last year’s race at WGI, Keselowski, Marcos Ambrose and Kyle Busch provided fans with one of the most-exciting finishes of 2012. Racing on a surface that was coated with oil due to a blown engine, the three competitors traded paint over the last two laps with Keselowski coming home second behind Ambrose.
· PAUL WOLFE HOMECOMING: Crew chief Paul Wolfe will be making a return to his “home” track as crew chief of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford this weekend. Wolfe grew up 150 miles east of WGI in the town of Milford, NY. A former racer himself, Wolfe has competed in one Nationwide Series race and four K&N Pro Series East (KNPSE) races at WGI. His best finish of third came in a KNPSE race in 2001.
· DOUBLE DUTY: For the second weekend in a row, Keselowski will pull double duty by competing in both the Cup and Nationwide Series races. Last weekend, Keselowski scored the 23rd victory of his NNS championship career at Iowa Speedway.
· MEET KESELOWSKI: Keselowski will make two appearances in the Watkins Glen area on Friday, August 9. He will participate in a Q&A session at Tops Friendly Market located at 504 ½ S. Franklin Street in Watkins Glen at 7 pm. He will also hold an autograph session at Wal-Mart located at 515 E. 4th street in Watkins Glen at 8 pm.
THE Q & A
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN GET YOUR FIRST ROAD COURSE WIN THIS WEEKEND AT WATKINS GLEN?
“I am looking forward to going back to Watkins Glen. We have a great package with the 2 team for the Glen. I’ll run the Nationwide Series race there as well. I am pumped about both races. The Miller Lite car has finished second there the last three years in a row with Kurt (Busch) in 2010 and then me twice. Hopefully we find that extra spot. A road course win is the one thing that stands out to me. Don’t get me wrong, I would like to win the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard but a road course win would be big for me because I have won on the other genres of tracks and it would make me feel more complete.”
WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT LAST YEAR’S EXCITING FINISH WITH MARCOS AMBROSE?
“The biggest thing I remember about last year’s race was that it was really hard racing on a great racetrack. Those last couple of laps were a huge roller coaster for me. We went from thinking that we were going to finish second – a solid run for us – to having a shot at the win over the course of those last couple of laps to, ultimately, finishing second. But what was so cool about that race is that Marcos and I were able to beat, bang and lean on each other without getting out of the car wanting to fight or yell. We gave the fans a good show. We raced hard for our teams. That was what was most important.”
THE NEWS AND NOTES
The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion
· TESTING WITH A PURPOSE: Heading into this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International, Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team spent their fair share of time testing on road courses to improve their performance. Logano and the team tested at Virginia International Raceway earlier this season before their 11th-place finish at Sonoma Raceway. Not content with the strong Sonoma result, Logano and the team took to the test track again just a few weeks ago, turning laps at Carolina MotorSports Park in Kershaw, SC.
· BACK TO THE TOP-10: Following a string of seven top-10 finishes in eight races, Logano suffered through tough luck and tire failures on back-to-back weekends in Daytona and Loudon, dropping him from 10th to 19th in the point standings. Since then however, Logano is back on his top-10 string, grabbing and eighth place in Indy and a seventh place in Pocono, giving him eight top-10 finishes in his last 11 starts. He is now 17th in the point standings, 38 points out of the top 10 and a Chase position.
· BUSY WEEK OFF TRACK: Logano got a little bit of practice Monday night on a road course of a different nature. Logano and several Penske Racing drivers raced go-karts at the GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, NC with executives of Ford Racing. Then on Tuesday, Logano took part in a special anniversary celebration at the NASCAR Technical Institute.
· DOUBLE DUTY IN A NEW NUMBER: Logano will be back to double duty this weekend, competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in a third entry for Penske Racing. He will drive the No. 48 Discount Tire Ford this weekend at the Glen.
· MEET LOGANO: Logano will make an appearance at the Wal-Mart in Watkins Glen on Thursday afternoon at 6:00 pm ET.
THE Q & A
JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD
DO YOU FEEL ALL THE ROAD COURSE TESTING HAS HELPED YOU GUYS THIS YEAR?
“Well, any time you can test with your team, it just gives you an added bonus. I mean it’s like another race weekend with them. You continue to learn more about yourself, your team and your interaction with them. Plus, testing allows you to try a lot of things out that you might not get a chance to try on race weekend. And with road course racing, it’s all about more and more laps. The more laps you make, the better to become because you never stop learning about things you can do better.”
HOW DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE PROGRESSED AS A ROAD COURSE RACER SINCE THE START OF YOUR CAREER?
“Again, I think it just helps to get laps. When I came into the Sprint Cup Series, I’d only run a handful of road course races in the Nationwide Series and a couple in the East and West Series. Now I’ve got a lot more experience, done a lot of testing and run pretty well in the last few Sprint Cup Series races on road courses. I don’t feel like I’m the best out there, but I feel like I’m pretty good and getting better each time I go out there. I’m always learning. And I think a win is just around the corner.”