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Penske Racing Federated Auto Parts 400 Race Preview

September 4, 2013




THE RACE

Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway (.75-mile oval, Richmond, VA)
Saturday, September 7, 6:00 pm ET

THE CARS

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion
Driven By Brad Keselowski

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

THE BROADCAST

Date: Saturday, September 7
Race Start Time: 6:00 pm ET   

Radio Broadcast
Live on MRN Radio and SIRIUS XM Channel 90

TV Schedule

Friday
· 12:00 pm ET, Practice (ESPN2)   
· 2:30 pm ET, Final Practice (ESPN2)
· 5:30 pm ET, Qualifying (ESPN2)
Saturday
· 6:00 pm ET, Federated Auto Parts 400 (ABC)

THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

· STILL IN THE GAME: While a tough finish after leading the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend put Keselowski in a precarious position to make the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup field, the current champion still has a shot this weekend at Richmond International Raceway (RIR). Winning at Richmond would put Keselowski in serious contention for one of the two Chase wild card positions.

· WILD CARD CONTENDERS MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Keselowski will be one of nine drivers taking part in the 2013 Wild Card Contenders Media Availability at the RIR amphitheater on Thursday afternoon, September 5, beginning at 5:30 pm ET. The event will include a fan Q&A session with the drivers.

· STRONG QUALIFIER: In his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, Keselowski has started inside the top 10 on five occasions at RIR. Another such effort would go a long way in his push to make the Chase as track position is key at the short. .75-mile Virginia bullring.

· MEET KESELOWSKI: Keselowski will appear at the Buffalo Wild Wings located at 7230 Bell Creek Road in Mechanicsville, VA on Thursday evening, September 5, beginning at 8:00 pm ET.

· A SPECIAL PLACE FOR THE KESELOWSKI FAMILY: In 1997 Keselowski’s father, Bob, scored the only NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win of his career at RIR. The younger Keselowski, who attended most of his father’s races, was forced to miss the win because of school commitments. For that reason, Brad’s two NASCAR Nationwide Series wins at RIR are among his favorites as they place the Keselowski name alongside Petty, Earnhardt, Allison and Jarrett as family winners at the .75-mile oval.

THE Q & A

BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD

YOU ARE STILL IN THE MIX FOR THE CHASE, BUT DOES IT SEEM LIKE YOUR TEAM HAS HAD SO MANY CHALLENGES THIS YEAR?

“It’s really easy to sit here and say that it just wasn’t our year but I’m not one to make excuses. Having motor issues at Atlanta – although it was really unfortunate because we were leading the race – is not what has us in this position. There are several things you can point to over the course of the year that begin to add up. We hit a rough patch in the middle of the year, plain and simple. Most every team goes through it and it’s something that we will definitely learn from. I’m ready to go to Richmond and win the race. I’m not going to worry myself with where this car is or that car is during the race. We’re going to win the race and when it’s over we’ll see if that was good enough to get us in.”

HOW HAVE YOU AND THE TEAM STAYED SO POSITIVE?

“Without a doubt once you’ve had success you feel like you should be able to have that success again. That’s not how the world works. Every weekend brings a whole new race and what you’ve done in the past is great, and it certainly gives you respect, but there’s a reason why we still run the race and that’s part of what makes sports so great and so much fun for me is because every week is an opportunity to prove yourself for the better and sometimes for the worse.  And what you’ve done last year or even last week once they drop the green flag is irrelevant.  It’s a different day and a different time, but it’s also another opportunity and that’s how I view it.”
    

THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion   

· ONE MORE TO GO:  Joey Logano is in a strong position heading into this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at RIR to qualify for the Chase.  Logano sits eighth in the point standings, 16 points inside the top 10.  Should Logano slip out of the top 10, he has one victory to fall back on for a potential wild-card berth.  While Logano isn’t locked into the Chase, he is in a good position to make his first Chase for the Sprint Cup.

· COMEBACK KID:  Following his 40th-place finish at the NHMS event in July, Logano found himself 18th in the point standings, 36 points out of the top 10. In the six races since, Logano has improved by 10 positions in the standings. This run marked the second time Logano has crawled back in the standings this season.  Following the Darlington event in May, Logano was 19th in the point standings and 56 points out of the top 10. In six races, he was able to make up those points and work his way back inside the top 10 before a 40th-place finish at Daytona.

· ALMOST A WIN:  Logano had the fastest car on the track in Atlanta on Sunday, but fell just a few laps short of grabbing his second win of 2013.  Logano’s Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion led a race high 78 laps and was catching eventual winner Kyle Busch by three-tenths of a second per lap at the end of the event before running out of laps as the checkered flag waved.  It was the third time this season that Logano has led the most laps in a race.

· THREE STRAIGHT: With his second-place finish on Sunday night, Logano collected his third-straight top-five finish.  It’s the second time in his career that he has earned three-consecutive top-five results.

· STATS CONTINUE TO IMPRESS: Dating back to the Coke 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, Logano has an average finish of 11th, which includes two 40th-place results.  Take out those two unfortunate runs and Logano has an average finish of 6.3 over that span. He’s also scored the second-most top-10 finishes of any driver this season.

· WILD CARD CONTENDERS MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Logano will join Keselowski at the 2013 Wild Card Contenders Media Availability at the RIR amphitheater on Thursday afternoon beginning at 5:30 pm ET. The event will include a fan Q&A session with the drivers.

THE Q & A

JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD

YOU ARE ONE RACE AWAY FROM MAKING THE CHASE, DO YOU FEEL ANY ADDED PRESSURE THIS WEEKEND?

“It’s something I’ve been saying and I will continue saying – we are not going to look at doing anything different this weekend then we have been doing the last several weeks.  We are going to go out there and try and win the race or get the best possible finish we can. But I’d be lying if I said we also weren’t going to be paying attention to the competition. But we are not points racing just to get in – we are going to race hard and do what we’ve been doing all year. We get ourselves a good finish and we will lock ourselves into the Chase.”

WHILE YOU ARE LOOKING TO MAKE THE CHASE, YOUR TEAMMATE IS ALSO TRYING TO GET IN. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HIS CHANCES?

“I would hate to see Brad not make it. He’s the defending Champion and you want to see that guy in the Chase. You want to race him for the Championship.  They just went through a stretch of races where he’s had some bad luck and some mechanical issues. Things were looking really good for him last weekend and the engine laid down. There is nothing you can do about that. I really hope they can make it in. But even if they aren’t in the Chase, they are still going to be factors during the Chase races. And if we are fortunate enough to make the Chase, I know he’s going to be a huge help to me and our team through just helping us learn things and getting us ready to run for the Championship.”