SPEEDWAY, IN (July 26, 2014) – Team Penske once again showcased its qualifying prowess as all three of its entries qualified in the top-10 for Sunday’s John Wayne Walding 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team led the effort with a third-place result in Saturday afternoon’s three-session elimination-style qualifying. The result marks Keselowski’s 12th top-three starting position of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
“The challenge of Indy on a scale of 1-10, I think it’s one of the hardest tracks we run,” said Keselowski. “The tracks that come to mind when you say that I think of Sonoma is probably the hardest place we run. I think of those places, but Indy is right up there with them with the challenge of trying to keep up with the track as it’s changing. The track has so many spots where you can get in trouble. Pit road stands out being so narrow and always an issue. Restarts in turn one are blind, and guys are going through the grass. There are a lot of challenges here at Indy, and I would say it’s in the top five or 10 percentile of difficult tracks. It’s maybe not the hardest but right it’s up there.”
Juan Pablo Montoya, who is making just his second NSCS start for Team Penske, had to make the field on speed, which he did as his qualifying effort landed him a solid eighth-place starting position for the 400-mile race.
“I was disappointed in the last run,” said Montoya. “I didn’t push real hard the first two runs thinking there was probably more potential in the car. On that last run, I had a huge moment in two, and I was slow on the back straight. I did a good job in three and four, but I think there was a lot more in the car. It’s disappointing, but we’re eighth and made it through all three rounds of qualifying today. I think we have a good race car, so from there we can do a lot.”
Joey Logano rounded out the team’s solid qualifying performance with a ninth-place result. The effort marks Logano’s 16th top-10 start of the 2014 season.
“It’s been a tough weekend so far,” said Logano. “We’re trying to get more speed in our car. We’ve got the balance somewhat close, but we still don’t have a whole bunch of speed, so that’s frustrating when that happens. We’re just trying to figure it out. This is the best we’ve been, and that’s good and bad. It’s the best we’ve been that’s good, but it’s bad that we’re not first for that reason. We’ll keep working on it and get there eventually.”
The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard will air live tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.