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Team Penske Pure Michigan 400 Race Preview

August 12, 2014




THE RACE

Pure Michigan 400 - Michigan International Speedway (2-mile speedway)
Sunday, August 17, 1:00 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 NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

· SIGNIFICANT CIRCUIT: Racing at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) is significant on several different fronts for Brad Keselowski. First, he is a native of Rochester Hills, Mich., which makes this his home track and he has yet to earn a Sprint Cup Series victory at MIS. Secondly, Penske Corporation is based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., which makes it a home track for Team Penske too. Finally, with the Detroit being the home to Ford and the Motor City, the race in the Irish Hills is always an important event.

· ENTERTAINING GUESTS AT HOME: The trip to Michigan will start early for Keselowski as he will arrive on Wednesday afternoon to meet with partners at the Oakland Hills Country Club. Then, on Thursday afternoon, he will make an appearance at the Team Penske Sponsorship Summit in downtown Detroit.

· HOLDING STEADY IN THE CHASE: On the heels of a couple of tough finishes, Keselowski and the Miller Lite team know that dedication and effort will see them through and into the Chase. The team is currently ranked second in the Chase Grid Outlook standings as it prepares for NASCAR’s post-season.

· RUNNING THE NUMBERS: In his 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at the two-mile MIS track, Keselowski owns three top-three finishes with his best result to date being a second-place finish in the August race during his championship season of 2012.

· CHARITY STARTS AT HOME: Adding more meaning to Keselowski’s homecoming weekend at Michigan, his Checkered Flag Foundation is a presenting sponsor of Saturday’s Careers for Veterans 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway.

· PLACE TO BE TO SEE BRAD: On Thursday night, August 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET Keselowski will appear for Miller Lite at The Pointe Bar & Grill located at 1200 Eagle Point Road in Clarklake, Mich. He will also be at the Ford Display in the MIS Fan Zone on Sunday morning at 10:15 a.m.

· LET KESELOWSKI DISPENSE LITE-HEARTED ADVICE: Fans are invited to tweet to @keselowski using the hashtag #bartenderbrad to receive his fast-paced, Lite and wise counsel on a wide range of topics.


THE Q&A

BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD

MICHIGAN IS OBVIOUSLY A BIG RACE FOR YOU. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY MEMORIES?

“My Dad’s first ARCA win there in 1992 really stands out in my mind. I was only six years old at the time, and that was probably the highlight of my life to that point. The next one that sticks out would be my first Truck Series race at Michigan back in 2005. It was just my second year of driving in the Truck Series and my first time there. While we didn’t run that well, I remember feeling fortunate and proud that I was racing at a track that has always been special to me and my family. Finally, the third memory that comes to mind is my first win there, which was in 2009 in the Nationwide Series. It was a very special day for me and my family as it was an accomplishment that my dad and I shared together.”

WITH ALL THOSE SPECIAL MEMORIES, HOW WOULD A CUP SERIES WIN STACK UP?

“I’ve recently mentioned that while I am grateful for all that I’ve accomplished so far in my racing career, one of the things that I feel is missing is a marquee race win. Usually that would mean a Daytona or a Brickyard, but for me Michigan kind of fits that bill. It is the home track for the Motor City and it’s my home track too. So to win here in Cup would be a big deal. It is something I want to experience without a doubt.”

 

THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion        

· DEFENDING WINNER:  This weekend, Joey Logano enters Michigan International Speedway as the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner at the track. In last season’s August MIS race, Logano earned his third career Sprint Cup Series win and first for Team Penske when he took the lead late in the event. Logano started on the pole and led 51 of the 200 laps for the landmark victory.

· DOUBLE DUTY OF A DIFFERENT SORT: Logano will once again compete as a double duty driver during MIS weekend, but this time it won’t mean flying back and forth between Michigan and Mid-Ohio, as it has in the past. Logano will compete in his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) event of the season, driving the No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150 for his teammate’s team – Brad Keselowski Racing. Logano has competed in five career NCWTS events, including one this year, with a best finish of second. Logano is looking to join an exclusive club and become the 24th driver in NASCAR history to win a race in the NSCS, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NCWTS.

· MICHIGAN MEANS BUSY: Michigan International Speedway race weekends are always busy events for Logano and the team. Logano will have sponsor commitments on both Wednesday and Thursday nights, including the annual Team Penske Sponsor Summit while in Detroit, before heading to the track to begin practice on Friday.

· BETTER THAN AVERAGE AVERAGE: Logano heads into the Michigan weekend boasting an 8.7 average starting position on the season, the second-best in the series behind his teammate Keselowski. The impressive mark represents Logano’s best average starting position to this point in his career – his previous best average was 11.9 in 2012.  In 22 races so far this season, Logano has started outside the top 10 on just five occasions, one of which was a rainout.

· THE HOMETOWN SHOWDOWN: Logano will head back to his home state of Connecticut next month to race for a cause at his foundation’s inaugural Hometown Showdown Driven by AutoTrader.com. The friendly go-karting competition is set for Thursday, September 18th from 3:30-9:00 p.m. ET at On Track Karting in Wallingford, Conn. The night will provide an opportunity for fans to test their racing skills against Logano and other participants in a fun competition. In addition to the on-track racing, the event will host a variety of activities, such as a silent auction, a raffle and plenty of opportunities to interact with Logano.


THE Q&A

JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD

YOU ARE THE DEFENDING CHAMPION AT MICHIGAN.  LOOKING BACK ON IT, HOW DID THE WIN SHAPE YOUR 2013 SEASON?

“It was big for me and my team.  We had run really well up until that point.  We had a few races up to that point that I thought we could have competed for the win for sure. We just didn’t have the finishes that we could have had.  But we were getting better as a team, and we were running better the second time around at places.  But that weekend, everything just clicked. We were fast in practice. We won the pole and set a new track record. We were fast in the race, and there were different pit strategies. We knew we had the best car – we just had to hope it played out right, and it did. It was awesome to finally get that win for myself, for my team and most importantly for Roger (Penske).”
 
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN REPEAT AT MIS THIS WEEKEND?

“I always feel like we can go to the track and win the race. Michigan has always been one of my best tracks, and we’ve always been fast there. We led about 30 laps or so (there in June), but we just got bit by pit strategy there at the end of the race. Other guys were able to beat us out because they short pitted. We finished ninth, but we were better than that.  But that is how these races play out. A lot of it is about strategy and how it all plays out. And if you get out front, it’s hard to pass that guy, no matter how fast you are. We just need to put ourselves in the right position. If we do, we can definitely repeat.”