Penske Racing Pure Michigan 400 Race Preview
August 15, 2013
Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway (two-mile oval, Brooklyn, MI)
Sunday August 18, 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: Pure Michigan 400
Track: Michigan International Speedway
Date: Sunday, August 18
Race Start Time: 1:00 pm ET
Radio Broadcast: Live on MRN Radio and SIRIUS XM Channel 90
· 12:00 pm ET, Practice (SPEED)
· 3:30 pm ET, Qualifying (SPEED)
· 8:30am ET, Practice (FS1)
· 11:00 am ET, Final Practice (FS1)
· 1:00 pm ET, Pure Michigan 400 (ESPN)
THE NEWS AND NOTES
The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion
· HOLDING CHASE SPOT IN HOME STATE: Brad Keselowski enters this weekend’s race at his home track inside the top-10 cutoff point for the Chase for the Sprint Cup thanks to a solid, second-place finish at Watkins Glen International last Sunday. While he has yet to pick up a Cup Series win at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), he does own two NASCAR Nationwide Series victories at the historic ova
· PARTY CRASHERS: The Academy of Country Music “Entertainer of the Year,” Luke Bryan, will be a guest of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team this weekend as he prepares to debut his new CD, Crash My Party. Bryan’s likeness will be featured on the hood of Keselowski’s car this weekend. In addition, Bryan will take control of the @MillerLite Twitter handle for live tweets during Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.
· DEBUTING THE 150-TREMOR: On Wednesday afternoon, August 14, Keselowski will help debut the new Ford F-150 Tremor in a special event at MIS.
· WHO’S YOUR TIGER?: There will be a lot of star power at Comerica Park on Friday night when the American League Central Division-leading Detroit Tigers host the second-place Kansas City Royals. Keselowski, the first Michigan-born Cup Series champion, will present the game ball at home plate prior to the start of the 7:05 pm ET contest.
· MICHIGAN TIES: In addition to Keselowski there are two other Michigan natives on the “Blue Deuce” roster. Car chief Jerry Kelley hails from Sherwood, Mich., while engineer Brian Wilson is from Detroit.
THE Q & A
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD
HOW HIGH IS YOUR CONFIDENCE LEVEL GOING TO YOUR HOME TRACK AT MICHIGAN?
“I’m optimistic that we can put together a good, solid afternoon on Sunday. Michigan, no doubt, has been one of my weaker tracks, especially since the repave. Repaved tracks, for whatever reason, have not been our strong suit. Unfortunately, there have been a lot of repaves lately! We did get a top-five finish there last year so I know we can do it. But we’re confident that we can at least get a solid finish like we did in the spring there. So I really see no reason why we can’t maintain our position in the points, if not improve it before the Chase starts.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU TO GET A WIN BEFORE THE CHASE STARTS?
“I would rather have a win or two and be a wild card than finish seventh or eighth and squeak my way in without any wins because the momentum of a win and the confidence it instills in yourself and the fear that it puts in your competition is more than worth it. I feel really good about the tracks coming up prior to the Chase. Two of them we will have tested on recently and Atlanta has always been good to the Miller Lite team. I think we can definitely be in contention for a couple of wins before the checkered flag at Richmond.”
THE NEWS AND NOTES
The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion
· FOUR RACES, 27 POINTS: With just four races remaining before the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase for the Championship, Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team are trying to claw their way back into the top-10 position needed to qualify for NASCAR’s “playoffs.” Logano sits 16th in the points, just 27 outside of the top 10. In June, Logano started sixth and finished ninth after leading 21 laps at the first Michigan race.
· TOP-10 STREAK REMAINS: Logano has been a picture of streaks this season. Following a streak of top-10 finishes earlier in the year, Logano has rolled off three more top 10s in his last three races. His 11 top 10s this season are tied for the fifth most of all drivers in 2013.
· RACER’S DREAM GARAGE CALENDAR: Last weekend, Logano announced a new project to help raise money for his Joey Logano Foundation. The 2014 Racer’s Dream Garage presented by Shell V-Power calendar will show off drivers like Logano, Brad Keselowski, Travis Pastrana, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle and Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves along with their personal street vehicles. Fans can also win a chance to have their car featured in the calendar through the Shell Ultimate Enthusiast contest. More details on the calendar are available at www.joeyloganofoundation.org.
· TRUCKIN’: Logano will get back behind the well of the No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday for Brad Keselowski Racing. In Logano's previous two starts this season for BKR, he's finished second at Rockingham Speedway and 24th at Kansas Speedway, after battling a mechanical failure that took him out of contention early in the race.
· MEET LOGANO: Logano will make an appearance at the Meijer Superstore in Jackson, Mich., (3333 E. Michigan Avenue) on Friday night beginning at 7:00 pm ET. All of Logano’s public appearances are listed at JoeyLogano.com
THE Q & A
JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD
DO YOU FEEL ANY EXTRA PRESSURE WITH JUST FOUR RACES LEFT BEFORE THE CHASE
“You always feel a little pressure. The time to try and make something happen is getting smaller and smaller. But we are not going to go out there and do something totally different than we have been doing up to this point. We’ve been strong all year long. We’re running up front. We just need to put a good finish on some of these strong runs. I think we have a couple of good opportunities to win a race or two in the next four races. There are a couple of tracks that I feel I’m really good at, including Michigan. So we will just go out there and do our thing.”
YOU HAVE 11 TOP-10 FINISHES IN 2013. DO YOU CONSIDER THE SEASON A SUCCESS SO FAR?
“We are still really focused on making the Chase at this point. We aren’t looking at anything as if we aren’t going to make it. But we have been running really well. We’ve been in the top 10 a lot this year. I just want to get a few more top fives and then focus on the wins. But we’ve had a lot of missed opportunities this year. If you look at some of the guys ahead of us in points, I think we’ve run better as a whole all year long than a lot of them. We’ve just had some bad luck and some mistakes. But there is still time and that’s what we are focused on.”