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Team Penske Quaker State 400 Race Preview

June 25, 2014




THE RACE

Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway (1.5-mile speedway, Sparta, Ky.)
Saturday, June 28, 7:30 pm ET

THE CARS

The No. 2 It’s Miller Time for America Ford Fusion
driven by Brad Keselowski

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

THE NEWS AND NOTES

 The No. 2 It’s Miller Time for America Ford Fusion

·  THREE TIMES AROUND: Brad Keselowski will be getting an unusually high amount of seat time at Kentucky Speedway this week as he is competing in all three NASCAR races. Keselowski will be driving his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entry along with the Team Penske NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford as well as the It’s Miller Time for America Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

·  ONE FOR THREE IN KENTUCKY: While he has made only three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Kentucky, Keselowski owns a victory at the 1.5 mile track (in 2012). The former Cup Series champion enjoys racing at Kentucky as over the last couple of years he has notched victories in both Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series competition.

·  RECENT TEST PARTICIPANT: Keselowski and the No. 2 It’s Miller Time for America crew participated in a Goodyear tire test at Kentucky Speedway last month. The additional track time for the driver and the team adds to the overall confidence the group brings to this weekend’s 400-mile race.

·  TEAM PENSKE AT KENTUCKY: As an organization, Team Penske has only six starts among four different drivers at the Kentucky Speedway intermediate track. To date the only team driver to claim a victory at the venue is Keselowski, who notched the win in June of 2012 on his way to earning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship that year.

·  MILLER TIME TO SEE KESELOWSKI: On Wednesday, June 25 at 7:00 p.m. ET Keselowski will appear that Dickmann’s Sports Café located at 479 Orphanage Rd, Fort Wright, Ky. 41017. The driver of the No. 2 It’s Miller Time for America Ford will also visit the Ford Racing display in the Fan Zone at Kentucky Motor Speedway on Saturday, June 28 at 4:05 p.m. ET.
    
THE Q&A

BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 IT’S MILLER TIME FOR AMERICA FORD

AFTER LAST WEEKEND’S RESULTS AT SONOMA, WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK HEADING TO KENTUCKY THIS WEEKEND?

“Kentucky has been a good track for this team in my experience. We’ve won here, which adds to our confidence going into the race. The team builds Ford Fusions that do very well here, and that makes my job as a driver a lot more fun. This weekend I am driving in all three races which is nice in terms of getting extra track time as the more information I have as a driver, the more useful I am to the team. The Miller Lite crew has been very consistent lately, and other than Sonoma we have been running quite well. Kentucky is the ideal place for us to get back on track in the Miller Lite America Ford and back into Victory Circle.”

PAUL WOLFE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 2 MILLER TIME AMERICA FORD

THE TEAM HAD AN UNCHARACTERISTICALLY TOUGH FINISH LAST WEEKEND, IS KENTUCKY THE PLACE TO TURN THAT AROUND?

“We had a productive couple of days at Kentucky last month during the Goodyear test. I think that bodes well for us this weekend. On top of that, this track surface requires a lot of mechanical grip as well as good aero-balance, and those are two areas that we do a pretty good job. Overall, other than last week, this team has been executing very well. Brad seems to do pretty well here at Kentucky too, and since he is driving all three races, we should have a good handle on what he will need in the race come Saturday night.”


THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion

·  START NUMBER 200:  At just 24-years-old, Joey Logano will make his 200th-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start this weekend when he takes the green flag for the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. Logano’s Sprint Cup Series career began in 2008, the same season that he broke onto the NASCAR Nationwide Series scene, with his first start coming at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He became a full-time driver in 2009 at the age of 18, winning his first race, also at New Hampshire, and becoming the youngest driver to ever win Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year honors. Through his first 199 races, Logano has earned five wins, 33 top-five finishes, 68 top-10 results and eight poles in the Sprint Cup Series. Of those numbers, three wins, 17 top-fives and 27 top-10s have come in the last year and a half as a member of Team Penske.

·  OH SO CLOSE AT KENTUCKY LAST YEAR:  Logano looked to have one of the cars to beat last season at Kentucky Speedway, but a late-race restart and Jimmie Johnson’s spinning car thwarted his efforts. Logano had lined up fifth on the restart and was making a move when the 48 car spun and Logano had to check up, as he lost several positions. He was able to come back to finish in fourth place.

·  THE NNS KING AT KENTUCKY:  Logano made headlines early in his career by winning three consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series events over three straight years at Kentucky Speedway. In each of those events, Logano started from the pole. His track record at Kentucky in the Sprint Cup Series hasn’t been quite as successful, with one top-five finish in three starts.


THE Q&A

JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD

THIS IS YOUR 200TH NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES START. HOW DO YOU FEEL LOOKING BACK AT THE FIRST 199?

“It’s hard to believe that it’s been 200 races already. It just doesn’t feel like it’s been that many. When you add in the Nationwide Series races and the few Truck starts I’ve had, I started well over 300 races in my NASCAR career. I’ve often answered the question of what I think about my career up to this point.  And I will always say the same thing about it. I did start early. And did I start earlier that I should have?  Was I ready?  Probably not.  But it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up and I would do it all again the same way. I learned a lot through my struggles early on and that had taught me a lot that I know today.  I don’t think I would be in the position that I am today without those early struggles. I’m just 24 now and I have six years of Sprint Cup Series experience under my belt. There isn’t a lot of people who can say something like that.  It’s been a fun ride, so I’m pretty excited to get a chance to continue it on until 600 or 800 starts.”

CAN YOU DUPLICATE YOUR NATIONWIDE SERIES SUCCESS AT KENTUCKY IN THE SPRINT CUP SERIES?

“I think so. We were close last year. But the track is so much different now than it was even when I won all those Nationwide Series races.  It’s a lot bumpier now.  And the competition in the Sprint Cup Series is just so much better, so it would be tough. I like to think we could do it, but that’s tough to go to a track and win two in a row, let alone three in a row.  Especially all of them from the pole.  You just don’t see that kind of stuff in the Sprint Cup Series anymore, because the competition has gotten so tough. When there are 20 guys that can win on any given weekend, you can’t expect people to go out there and win two or three races in-a-row anymore at one track.”