Penske Racing Ford EcoBoost 300 Race Preview
November 13, 2013
Ford EcoBoost 300
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Friday - Practice 10:00am ET FoxSports1
- Final Practice 3:00pm ET ESPN2
Saturday - Qualifying 1:00pm ET FoxSports2
- Ford EcoBoost 300 4:30pm ET ESPN
Saturday - Ford EcoBoost 300 4:00pm ET MRN & SiriusXM
No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Mustang
Driver: Sam Hornish Jr.
No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang
Driver: Joey Logano
No. 48 Discount Tire Ford Mustang
Driver: Brad Keselowski
THE NEWS & NOTES
No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Ford
• SOUTHBOUND AND DOWN: Trailing the series standings by just eight points, Sam Hornish Jr. and the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts team enter this weekend's race with a must win mentality.
• FINEST SEASON: Entering the season finale with a shot at the championship, Hornish is finishing up his best-ever season of NASCAR competition. He has notched one victory, three poles, 16 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes.
• FORD CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND: With Ford the entitlement sponsor for this weekend, Hornish will be doing his part to represent the storied brand. Hornish will be giving gathered media pace car rides around Homestead-Miami Speedway on Thursday. He will also make appearances on a Ford Racing online video stream, a special broadcast on SiriusXM NASCAR channel 90 and the Ford Racing midway display.
• THREE TIMES THE FUN: The veteran driver has starts in INDYCAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup and • NASCAR Nationwide Series at the famed south Florida speedway. His best Nationwide Series finish came last year with a fourth-place effort. He owns three INDYCAR victories at the 1.5-mile track.
• FLORIDA HOMEGROWN: Two members of the Alliance Truck Parts team are from Florida. Spotter Tab Boyd hails from Pensacola and Jackman Aaron Walker is from Mims.
No. 22 Hertz Ford
• LOGANO RETURNS TO THE SEAT: Joey Logano will return to the seat of the No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang this weekend, marking his 15th NASCAR Nationwide Series start of the season. Despite just 15 starts (the fewest of his NNS career), Logano had earned three wins, eight top-fives and 11 top-10 finishes, along with one pole.
• CRUNCH TIME FOR 22 TEAM: Logano will try and guide the No. 22 Penske Racing team to their first NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner's Championship - and the first for Roger Penske - this weekend. The team enters the weekend just four points ahead of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing team in a battle that will likely come down to the final lap. Penske has won the Driver's and Owner's title in the Sprint Cup Series (2012), as well as the Driver's title in the Nationwide Series (2010).
• PAST OWNER'S CHAMPION: This will not be the first time Logano will be battling for a NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner's Championship. Logano has already been part of two other Owner's Championships. In 2008, his first year in the Nationwide Series, Logano shared a ride with Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin and won the Owner's Championship. In 2012, Logano again won the Owner's title, sharing a ride with Hamlin, Mark Martin, Michael McDowell, Ryan Truex and Drew Herring.
• HERTZ TRACK RECORD A GOOD ONE: This weekend's race will mark the seventh time The Hertz Corporation, one of the world's leading car rental and transportation companies, will adorn the side of the No. 22 Ford Mustang in 2013. The Hertz Ford Mustang has made it to Victory Lane in five of the six starts this year. Joey Logano took the Hertz Mustang to victory at both Dover races and Chicagoland, while Brad Keselowski won with Hertz at both Watkins Glen and Richmond.
No. 48 Discount Tire Ford
• FIRST TIME IN THE 48: This weekend will be Brad Keselowski's first race in the No. 48 Ford Mustang, which has competed twice already in 2013 with Joey Logano piloting it at Watkins Glen International in August and Ryan Blaney handling the duties last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.
• NUMBERS NEVER LIE: One only needs to look at the stats to see how impressive Keselowski has been in limited action in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2013: six wins in 15 starts with only two finishes outside the top two in his last 10 starts.
• 26 AND COUNTING: Keselowski's win at Watkins Glen International in August gave him 26-career NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) victories, which places him by himself in eighth place on the all-time list.
• FORMER WINNER: In 2011, Keselowski picked up his 17th NNS victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS) by leading a total of 66 laps.
• HOMESTEAD STATS: Keselowski has finished inside the top-three in three of his last four NNS starts at HMS, including a third-place finish that wrapped up his 2010 NNS championship.
THE Q & A
SAM HORNISH JR, NO. 12 ALLIANCE TRUCK PARTS FORD
HOW DO YOU FEEL HEADING INTO THIS WEEKEND?
"The last race of the season tends to bring a lot of different feelings. Obviously, the championship picture plays a big part in how I am feeling. On top of that, while the season is long, it's what I love doing so it's a mixed feeling. Then of course we aren't sure what next season looks like yet so that is an additional element that factors in on my thoughts. All-in-all, this has been the best season I've had in NASCAR and I am proud of what we've accomplished. I am grateful to all the guys at the shop, the race team and pit crew; they've given me their best all year long. It's been fun."
DO YOU THINK YOU CAN WIN THIS TITLE?
"Things will have to go our way to make this happen, but I have faith in this team and in myself. We have been at or near the front of the standings all year long. That is the caliber of this team and that is the type of effort that we will put into the race this weekend. We have worked hard and we are close to our goal. We are going to give it our all and see how it plays out."
JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 HERTZ FORD
IS THE GOAL THIS WEEKEND WINNING THE RACE OR WINNING THE OWNER'S TITLE?
"Well the goal is always to go out there and win the race. And if we win the race, we will win the Owner's Championship. That is a very important thing for us this weekend. But we know we have to run well, we have to run up front and we have to win the race. There are only four points between us and the 54 car, so we need to be on top of our game. If they win the race, we need to finish second and lead the most laps. That's how close this is. But I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's going to be me and Kyle (Busch) battling it out once again. Seems like we have been battling with each other for wins or championships since I started racing. It's going to be a lot of fun."
HOW IMPORTANT IS WINNING THE OWNER'S TITLE?
"You know I've heard a lot of people talking about how the Owner's title isn't as important and that it doesn't mean the same. Well it does. It's really important. It's important to the guys on the team, the guys that travel, the sponsors that sponsor the cars and all of the guys that work on these cars back at the shop. It's the team that scored the most points all year long, regardless of the driver. This one team has been better than all other teams. In other sports, you recognize both the best team and the best individual performer. That is what the Owner's title and the Driver's title does. Drivers get a lot of credit, but racing is a team sport. So the Owner's title is important to all of us as Penske Racing."
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 48 DISCOUNT TIRE FORD
WHY DID YOUR SCHEDULE CHANGE THIS WEEKEND?
"This is a very important weekend for Penske Racing and Roger (Penske) asked me to drive a third car. I was happy to do whatever was needed for the good of the team. I love racing at Homestead. We have a lot of good memories from racing there with the 2010 Nationwide championship and last year's Cup championship celebrations. Hopefully we'll be celebrating a couple more championships on Saturday evening."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE PLAYED SUCH A BIG PART IN GETTING PENSKE RACING ON THE VERGE OF THE OWNER'S TITLE?
"This is about Roger. It is about getting him something that he hasn't done. I take a lot of pride in that. When I came to drive for him he didn't have any NASCAR championships and that was not a point lost on me. Together I guess you could say we have won three if you count the Sprint Cup owners, drivers and Nationwide drivers. I think it is somewhat an incomplete feeling to not have that Nationwide owner's title - at least it is for me. It has been rewarding so far, and it isn't over, but if we were to win it that would be very rewarding for me personally to be a part of providing that for Roger."