Penske Racing Irwin Tools Night Race Preview
August 23, 2013THE RACE
Irwin Tools Night Race
Bristol Motor Speedway
(.533-mile oval, Bristol, TN)
Saturday, August 24, 7:30 pm ET
· 12:00 pm ET, Practice (FS1)
· 2:45 pm ET, Final Practice (FS1)
· 5:30 pm ET, Qualifying (ESPN2)
· 7:30 pm ET, Irwin Tools Night Race (ABC)
Live on PRN Radio and SIRIUS XM Channel 90
No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion
Driver: Brad Keselowski
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion
Driver: Joey Logano
THE NEWS AND NOTES
The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion
· NOW IS THE TIME: Only three races remain before the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Keselowski is currently eighth in the point standings, inside the top 10 cutoff line to defend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. The next three tracks provide one of the best stretches of the season for Keselowski to visit Victory Lane and earn valuable bonus points before the start of the playoffs.
· PREPARING TO DEFEND: On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team tested at Richmond International Raceway, in preparation for the final race of the regular season. Following this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) the team will head to Chicagoland Speedway to prepare for the first race of the Chase.
· TWO-TIME BRISTOL WINNER: Keselowski owns two NSCS victories at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile,” with both coming in consecutive races in 2011 and 2012. He is one of 12 drivers to win consecutive races at BMS.
· TRIPLE DUTY: For the second time this season, Keselowski will participate in all three national series that are competing at BMS. He will pilot his own Draw-Tite Ford F-150 from Brad Keselowski Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Wednesday night, August 21. In addition, the former NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) champion will get back behind the wheel of the ultra-competitive No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang as he attempts to win his fifth-consecutive NNS race on Friday evening, August 23. Then on Saturday night, he will race the Miller Lite Ford in the Irwin Tools Night Race.
· MEET KESELOWSKI: Keselowski will make an appearance at the Wal-Mart store located at 220 Century Road in Bristol, TN beginning at 5:30 pm ET on Thursday afternoon, August 22.
THE Q & A
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD
IS BRISTOL COMING AT AN OPPORTUNE TIME FOR THE MILLER LITE FORD TEAM?
“Bristol is absolutely coming at a good time. I like to think of Bristol as one of my better racetracks, probably in the top three. I took to it from the first time I drove out on the surface. It’s a man’s racetrack and I like that about it. We need to get a win in these last three races before the Chase begins. We know what we can do in the Miller Lite Ford at Bristol, but past success doesn’t guarantee anything for the future. We need to have a focused weekend from the time we roll off the truck. If it doesn’t come this weekend, I’m confident about our chances at Atlanta and Richmond as well. These are three really good tracks for us and I’m excited about our potential to win at all of them. I would rather have a win or two and be a wild card than finish seventh or eighth and squeak my way into the Chase without any wins. The momentum of a win and the confidence it instills in you and the fear that it puts in your competition is more than worth it.”
BOTH PENSKE RACING FORDS SEEM TO BE PEAKING RIGHT NOW. WHAT WOULD IT MEAN FOR BOTH OF YOU TO MAKE THE CHASE?
“Well, it’s way too early for us to think about that right now. There is a lot of work left to do over these next three weeks. It is very encouraging that our Ford Fusions have a lot of speed right now. Joey’s win (at Michigan) was great for our organization and for that team. It definitely makes me want to go out and get one soon. I really think that we can both feed off each other and produce some great results over the remainder of the season.”
THE NEWS AND NOTES
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion
· BIG “MO” AFTER THE WIN: Joey Logano was able to pick up his third career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win last weekend in the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. With the victory, Logano continued his strong run over the last several weeks and was able to climb from 16th to 13th in the point standings and he is now just 17 points out of the top 10. Logano is now just seven points behind the No. 56 team of Martin Truex Jr. for the final wild card spot in the Chase for the Cup.
· REDEMPTION AT BRISTOL: Logano arrives at Bristol with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. In the spring race at Bristol, Logano believed he had one of the best cars in the field as he raced his way from 17th place to the lead. While battling for the top spot, Logano got spun from behind and the contact with the wall caused significant damage to the Shell-Pennzoil Ford. The team was able to repair the damage and Logano held on to a 17th-place finish.
· BIG TIME STATS: The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team might be the hottest team in the Sprint Cup garage right now. Removing two 40th-place finishes at at Daytona and New Hampshire due to tire failures from the equation, Logano has not finished lower than 11th dating back to the All-Star race in May. In fact, over that streak of 11 races (including the All-Star event), Logano has four top-five and 10 top-10 results and an average finish of 6.45.
· PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Logano and his teammate Brad Keselowski spent Monday and Tuesday testing at Richmond International Raceway in preparation for the final event of the “Race to the Chase.”
THE Q & A
JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD
NOW THAT YOU HAVE A WIN, DO YOU FEEL ANY PRESSURE OFF OF YOU?
“Until we are locked into the Chase, then the pressure is still there. Even with a win, we are still just one bad race from pretty much being out of this thing. We just have to continue doing what we have been doing over the last few weeks. We just need to put together great races and get the most out of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford that we can. If that’s a win, then great. If that’s a top-five, then that is what we need to get. It’s all about maximizing your day over these last three races.”
YOU HAVE A PRETTY IMPRESSIVE STREAK OF FINISHES DATING BACK TO MAY. DOES THAT SHOW THE STRENGTH OF THE 22?
“I think so. We have been really strong all year. Legitimately, without a couple of tire failures and a couple of other minor issues, we are easily top-six or so in points. We were in the top 10 before we had those two failures and that really hurt us. If we could have come out of those races with top 10s like we’ve been running, I think we are easily in the top 10 in points. But you can’t play the ‘what if’ game because that’s not reality. We need to just continue to do what we’ve been doing. That’s our focus.”
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