Sprint Cup
Team Penske
Subscribe    Print This Page   

Team Penske Toyota/Save Mart 350 Race Preview

June 18, 2014




THE RACE

Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway (2.52-mile road course, Sonoma, Calif.)
Sunday, June 22, 3:00 pm ET

THE CARS

The No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion
driven by Brad Keselowski

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

THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion

· TOP-THREE CONSISTENCY: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford team enter this weekend riding a three-race streak of top-three results. The strong results include two second-place finishes and one third-place finish that have moved Keselowski to within 47 points of the series point leader, Jeff Gordon, in the driver standings.

· SUNSHINE STATE BRIGHT YELLOW: The No. 2 Team Penske Ford Fusion will feature the bright yellow paint scheme of Alliance Truck Parts this weekend at Sonoma. In its first season as a sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Alliance Truck Parts will compete in the second of eight scheduled races as a primary sponsor this weekend.

· WINE COUNTRY DROUGHT: Overall, Keselowski has an impressive record when it comes to road course racing as he has finished second for three consecutive races at Watkins Glen International. However, the 2012 Sprint Cup Champion driver hasn’t had quite the same production at Sonoma. His best finish at the scenic wine country venue is a 10th place finish, which came in 2011.

· SHINING BRIGHT IN CALIFORNIA: Keselowski flew directly from last week’s race in Michigan to California for a productive week of media in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. The 30-year-old driver visited Variety magazine, taped a segment on “Entertainment Tonight” and an episode of “Sullivan and Son” while in Los Angeles. He also did a series of interviews at FOX before traveling to San Francisco to meet with local media to promote this weekend’s Toyota/SaveMart 350.

· ACCUMMULATIVE NUMBERS: The recent run of top finishes has bolstered Keselowski’s career numbers as he now owns 40 top-five finishes in his 176 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts. That consistent production translates to a top-five result in an impressive 23 percent of his Cup Series starts. Keselowski has earned a noteworthy seven top-five finishes through the first 15 races this season which equates to an impressive 47 percent top-five production percentage.
 

THE Q&A

BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 ALLIANCE TRUCK PARTS FORD

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE SONOMA CIRCUIT THAT HAS BEEN CHALLENGING FOR YOU?

“Sonoma is probably the biggest challenge on the schedule for me each year. I am not sure exactly what it is about this track. I am pretty good at the other road course, but Sonoma has been tough. It is a technical track that requires a lot of finesse and my driving style is probably too aggressive here. We have done some testing here and I do feel as though we are capable of performing well here. This team has been very consistent lately and our whole organization is executing well, which has us feeling confident in our ability to contend for a victory this weekend. On a personal note, I am looking forward visiting the wine country as I am bringing (girlfriend) Paige along and we plan on taking in the sights, so I know I will have a great weekend.”

 
PAUL WOLFE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 2 ALLIANCE TRUCK PARTS FORD

SONOMA HAS BEEN A CHALLENGING CIRCUIT FOR THE NO. 2 TEAM, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AS YOU PREPARE FOR THIS WEEKEND?

“Sonoma hasn’t been a strong track for us but with the new rules package for 2014 we are hopeful that we will be able to come up with a set up on the Alliance Truck Parts Ford that will give Brad the feel he is looking for in the car. This year has given us the opportunity to make significant improvements in our qualifying results and that may work to our advantage this weekend. Previously, we had not qualified as well as we have been and a good majority of the races are track position dependent. So between that and the quality cars that Team Penske is building, I think we should be in good shape for this race.”
    


THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion    

· TIME TO GO RIGHT AND LEFT:  Joey Logano looks forward to the first road course event of the season this weekend at Sonoma Raceway. Logano’s career results at Sonoma, and at road courses in general, has improved steadily over the years.  Over the last three seasons, Logano has produced finishes of sixth, 10th and 11th at Sonoma. He also won a NASCAR Pro Series West event at Sonoma in 2011. In addition, Logano has finishes of fifth and seventh at the other NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) road course, Watkins Glen International.

· STILL A SURPRISE:  When Logano visited Sonoma in 2011, he was still honing his road course skills through plenty of testing and simulator driving.  That season he surprised the entire NSCS field by winning the pole in Sonoma, one of his eight career Sprint Cup Series pole positions.

· DOING GOOD FOR THE TROOPS:  The Joey Logano Foundation, along with Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation, recently launched a new program together. The Honor Your Military Hero program encourages fans to visit www.JoeyLoganoFoundation.com/HonorYourHero and describe someone in their life that has served in the military and is in need of a second chance. Submissions will be accepted online until Sunday, June 22 at 6 pm ET. The winner will be granted a $5,000 donation and receive a VIP trip for two to the conclusion of the NASCAR: An American Salute campaign at Daytona International Speedway’s Coke Zero 400 on July 5. The trip includes travel, hot pit passes to the race, driver meet and greets and entry to The Troops Welcome Center Presented by Coca-Cola for all active duty military, veterans and their families.

· TOP HONORS:  For the second-straight year, the Shell Science Teaching Award winner will receive recognition on the track and at the track in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The award, now celebrating its 23rd year, recognizes one outstanding classroom science teacher (K-12) who has had a positive impact on his or her students, school, and community through exemplary classroom science teaching. This year’s recipient, Kristen Poindexter, comes from Indianapolis, Ind. Kristen is an educator and science coach at Spring Mill Elementary and was chosen this spring after a rigorous competition sponsored by Shell with the National Science Teacher Association in early 2014.  She will be a VIP guest of Shell and the No. 22 Team Penske team at Sonoma this weekend and her name will be proudly displayed on the rear bumper of Logano’s Ford Fusion all weekend.

 
THE Q&A

JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD

WHAT KIND OF DIFFERENT PREPARATION DO YOU GO THROUGH FOR THE ROAD COURSE RACES COMPARED TO AN OVAL?

“Honestly, one of the biggest things we do is the amount of testing.  We test three or four different times on road courses around the area like Road Atlanta and VIR (Virginia International Raceway).  Mostly, it’s for me to get back in the swing of things with lefts and rights, shifting and braking. But there are a few things the guys will do different to the cars and we test some of that stuff as well, like different brake packages and such. And we do a lot of that just testing and testing and testing. But I wouldn’t say there is a whole lot different that goes into these races. More, it’s the strategy during the race and how you play it, especially going backwards.”

DO YOU THINK QUALIFYING WILL DEVELOP DIFFERENTLY ON THE ROAD COURSES WITH THE NEW GROUP QUALIFYING FORMAT?

“Well, we’ve actually had some group qualifying before on the road courses, so it won’t change a lot. You don’t have to rely on aero there and you can get enough space in between you and other cars that you don’t have to worry about it.  The biggest thing will be how things play out in rounds two and three and what the tire fall off is. If you screw up a lap, you get a chance to do it again and try and make it better, but then again you know that the tire fall off will be there. On the tracks where we thought things might play out a little differently this year, other than the restrictor-plate tracks, they really didn’t. So it’s more about just making the most of the opportunity and doing what’s in front of us.”