Sprint Cup
Team Penske
Subscribe    Print This Page   

Team Penske Bojangles' Southern 500 Race Preview

April 9, 2014




THE RACE

 

The Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (1.366-mile oval, Darlington, SC)
Saturday, April 12, 6:30 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 NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

· FIVE FRONT ROW STARTS: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team are enjoying their best-ever qualifying streak to start the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Since the introduction of the new elimination-style qualifying procedure this year, Keselowski has earned a series-leading five front row starts with his best result coming at Phoenix where he won the pole position.

· CHASING THE CHASE: Keselowski is one of the seven different drivers to claim a victory this season, as he took the checkered flag at Las Vegas. Team Penske is the first team to have all of its drivers win a race, following Monday’s win by Joey Logano in Texas. This is especially noteworthy as it greatly enhances the probability that both Team Penske Sprint Cup Series teams will earn positions in the Chase under the new qualifying format this season.

· FORD FILMING: Keselowski and fellow Ford Racing teammate Logano spent the day after the Texas race at the Ford Technical Center in Concord, NC. The Team Penske drivers recorded some video content for Ford that will be released later this season.

· DARLINGTON DESIRE: There are many tracks on the NASCAR circuit that drivers feel are distinctive and wins at those venues seem to have a certain added prestige. Darlington is one of those tracks as the heritage and history of the track is unique. In five starts at the historical venue Keselowski has a best result of third place in the 2010 race.

· BACK IN BLACK: Team Penske has produced two victories at the prestigious “Lady in Black” track courtesy of Bobby Allison, who swept both races in 1975.

· MEET BRAD THURSDAY: Keselowski will be making an appearance for Miller Lite this Thursday, April 10 at 7:00 p.m. ET at the Rite-Aid located at 406 Lamar Highway in Darlington, SC.

· SATURDAY AT FORD: Keselowski will appear at the Ford Display in the Darlington Raceway Fan Zone this Saturday afternoon at 3:55 p.m. ET.

· DRIVER’S DAILY DRIVER: Keselowski recently took delivery of a sleek black 2014 Ford F-150 SX2. The pickup truck is a welcome addition to the 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion’s vehicle collection as it provides utility and comfort.
    

THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion

· A BIG WEEKEND FOR LOGANO:  Joey Logano can now breathe a little easier. Logano earned his fourth career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) win last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, the first of the 2014 season for the 23-year-old. With the victory, Logano became the seventh different winner this season and locks himself into the Chase for the Sprint Cup baring more than 16 different winners before the start of the Chase.   

· IMPRESSIVE STATS: The win wasn’t the only impressive part of the weekend for Logano. Logano’s victory continued his amazing start to the 2014 season. Logano’s 133 driver rating at Texas moved his season-long rating to 108.1, the best of among all NSCS drivers. He has led the second most laps at 277, which already ranks as the second most ever in a single season over the course of his career.  His 10 bonus points also rank as the best among all NSCS drivers.  His fourth-place standing in the points is the highest he’s ever been over the course of his six-year NSCS career.

· LAST ONE STANDING:  Logano and the Shell-Pennzoil team continue to be stellar in NASCAR’s new “knockout” format of qualifying.  Last weekend at Texas, Logano once again made it to the final round in qualifying and, in turn, became the only driver to make it to the final round in each of the knockout qualifying formats that have been run this year.

· BUSY WEEK FOR LOGANO:  With the Texas rainout last weekend taking place on Monday, Logano found himself with a very busy week leading into Darlington. On Tuesday, Logano took part in a video shoot for Ford Racing for an upcoming series of videos that will debut soon with all of the Ford Racing drivers. Later that day he also took part in a new Team Penske tradition, the “Toast at 3:00,” which celebrated Monday’s victory with the staff at the Penske shop. On Wednesday, Logano travels to Minneapolis on behalf of Shell to participate in the NAFA convention, the largest fleet trade show in North America.

· DOUBLE DUTY DARLINGTON:  Logano will once again be running double duty at Darlington. In addition to competing in the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion, he will also race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series behind the wheel of the No. 22 Snap-on Ford Mustang.

· DIG SAFE, CALL 811: April is National Safe Digging Month, and No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil/Hertz Ford Fusion driver Joey Logano will run ‘Call 811’ logos on the car during all three races in April to encourage fans to call 811 before starting outdoor digging projects. As part of the effort, the Common Ground Alliance will give one race fan the chance to watch Joey Logano race at the Quicken Loans 400 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz., on November 9, 2014.  Visit www.flyawaytophoenix.com to enter and read official rules. No purchase necessary. Sweepstakes ends August 31, 2014.
 

THE Q&A

BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD
WHAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU THINK OF DARLINGTON?

“The history of the place is the first thing that comes to mind. I have a lot of respect for places that have tradition and history. Tracks like Darlington are the very foundation of our sport. The next thing that I think of is the track itself. The line that we take around that place – the way we run so close to the wall is unique. The track also has a truly distinct shape that lends itself to great racing. The facility has an air of antiquity – I enjoy racing at Darlington and I certainly want to win there.”

PAUL WOLFE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD
AFTER MISSING LAST YEAR’S RACE, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS GOING INTO THIS WEEKEND?

“I am honestly looking forward to this race. I love going to Darlington – it’s a one of those historic places that we go that just have that little something extra. After missing last year, I am really going to savor this race. Our Miller Lite Ford has been pretty decent this year and our team is doing well. This should be a good weekend for our team.”
    

JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD

HOW MUCH OF A CONFIDENCE BUILDER WAS LAST WEEK’S WIN FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM?

“It was huge. It allows you to take a little bit of a different approach to the season now. We can be a little more aggressive on certain aspects. But we also can’t rest on one win. We still have to look at the points situation. You can’t ever forget about points. But the big thing is that is gives our team a lot of momentum. I feel like we were close to winning a couple of other races this year and that was frustrating to the guys. Now, we got that and got it out of the way. I think we can win a couple more of these things before we start the Chase. But it helps confidence.  It helps the guys on the team. It helps with a lot of things. And we can take that and run with it over the next few weeks. We have a lot of good tracks for us coming up.”
 
WHAT IS A QUALIFYING LAP AT DARLINGTON LIKE?

“It is definitely one of those places where you find yourself out of breath when you take the checkered flag. I remember the first time I did a qualifying lap at Darlington as a rookie and I got out of the car and was just shaking. I think my first words were ‘whoa’ when it was all finished. And we qualified fifth that year. You are right on the edge, trying to go as fast as possible, just inches from the wall.  It makes you a little jittery. I heard it was even crazier before they repaved it as well, although since they repaved it, the speeds are up. But it feels really good when you finish and you see that you have posted a really good lap time. But it takes all of your focus for that lap that’s for sure.”