The Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway (2.5-mile superspeedway, Daytona Beach, Fla.)
February 15, 2014
The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion
Driven By: Brad Keselowski
Starting Position: 5
Finish Position: 2
THE RACE REVIEW
· Brad Keselowski started the 75 lap Sprint Unlimited non-points race from the fifth position after NASCAR’s fan vote determined to set the starting lineup based on the speeds from the second practice session.
· Fan voting also determined the 30-25-20 lap format of Saturday night’s race and unofficial start to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
· Early in the race the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion fell outside the draft of the other cars and was shuffled to the back of the pack.
· At the conclusion of the first segment the “White Lite” No. 2 car was scored in the sixth position.
· During the first format mandated pit stop, crew chief Paul Wolfe called for fuel only, which resulted in Keselowski starting the second segment of the exhibition event in the first position.
· The No. 2 Team Penske Ford demonstrated its strength and speed over the early part of the second segment as Keselowski led several laps.
· At lap 35, a multi-car accident brought out a red flag with the Miller Lite Ford running second among the leaders.
· During the red flag, as the drivers were instructed to go to their pit box and NASCAR allowed the teams to work on the cars, the Miller Lite pit crew changed four tires and added fuel.
· After the race restarted at lap 40, Keselowski maintained a strong presence in the top five and he was scored second at the lap 50 conclusion of the second stint of the race.
· Over the final Sprint Unlimited segment, Keselowski ran consistently among the top three and led for several laps. However, the No. 11 car driven by Denny Hamlin made a late charge to win the race as Keselowski brought home a strong second-place finish.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
WHAT WAS THE RACING LIKE DURING THE UNLIMITED?
“It was definitely a race of attrition and we survived, somewhat, to the end. We finished second. Obviously (we) came up one spot short, which in a race like this is all that matters. It was just kind of the timing of the runs. I thought it was great racing. The cars are maybe just a tiny bit more responsive than they were last year. But, obviously, if the field gets up by the wall it’s tough to make a move, but, all in all, I thought it was pretty good racing. This format is good for plate racing and I thought it was a decent night.”
WHAT HAS BEEN THE SIDE-BY-SIDE EFFECT OF THIS CONFIGURATION?
“The cars are different than what they were in 2012 and essentially from what they were in ’11 to get rid of the tandem (racing). Part of that package to do so has made the cars to where they’re more side draft sensitive back to kind of what we used to have – the difference being the cars are less sensitive to the left side than what they used to be. I think that’s why you see all the guys running up against the wall whenever they can. That package has definitely changed the racing here and allowed the cars to stretch out a little bit, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is what it is. I think it’s pretty good racing here in this format, so I thought we had a good race.”