Penske Racing Advocare 500 Race Preview
August 29, 2013THE RACE
Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54-mile oval, Hampton, GA)
Sunday, September 1 - 7:30 pm ET
No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion
Driven by Brad Keselowski
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion
Driven by Joey Logano
Radio Broadcast: Live on PRN Radio and SIRIUS XM Channel 90
·3:00 pm ET, Practice (FS1)
·7:00 pm ET, Qualifying (FS1)
·3:00 pm ET, Practice (FS2)
·6:00 pm ET, Final Practice (FS2)
·7:30 pm ET, Advocare 500 (ESPN)
THE NEWS AND NOTES
The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion
· 2 TO GO: With two races remaining before the start of the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup, Keselowski finds himself four points outside of the top 10 cutoff to make the Chase. However, having tested at both Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) and Richmond International Raceway, the team remains confident that they will be able to defend their 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) championship.
· MAKE IT ROUGH: When it comes to worn or bumpy track surfaces, few teams have a better track record than the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team. AMS, with one of the toughest surfaces on the circuit, will provide the team an opportunity to get back inside the cutoff point for the Chase as Keselowski has finishes of sixth and third, respectively, over the last two years at AMS.
· 150 STARTS: This weekend, Keselowski will make the 150th NSCS start of his young, championship career. So far the Rochester Hills, MI native has recorded nine wins, 31 top-five finishes and 54 top-10 results since making his debut at Texas Motor Speedway in November of 2008.
· ASK BRAD: Keselowski will hold a Q&A session with fans on the AMS frontstretch on Friday night following the qualifying session for the AdvoCare 500.
· PRAISING THE NEW TIRE: Goodyear will debut a new construction of their race tire this weekend at AMS. Based on several tests over the past year, and most specifically a recent test session at AMS, Goodyear’s racing division will utilize “zone tread” technology for this weekend’s event. Keselowski is a big proponent of this new technology and is excited about the possibilities that it holds for racing in the future.
THE Q & A
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD
WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET OVER THESE NEXT TWO RACES?
“Well, we aren’t in a very enviable position (in the point standings) but we have two good tracks coming up for us. We’ve tested at both Atlanta and Richmond, both with very positive results. We’re only four points outside of the top 10 – which is very doable – but we can’t have any issues. The older surfaces are where this Miller Lite Ford team really excels. There aren’t many of them left, but we have one this weekend at Atlanta. Those surfaces fit my driving style better than any others. I haven’t won yet at Atlanta, but I think we can do that this weekend. If we can, everything will work itself out.”
HOW ANXIOUS ARE YOU TO SEE WHAT THE NEW TIRE WILL DO TO THE RACING?
“I wish we could properly relate the importance of this new tire to our fans. In my opinion, this is one of the most important advancements for our sport to come along in some time. I truly believe that it has the ability to change our sport in a positive way and Atlanta will be our first race with it. What’s cool about it – aside from what it will do to the on-track product – is that the technology was taken from passenger car tires. Normally that dynamic works the other way with racing technology making its way to passenger tires.”
THE NEWS AND NOTES
The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion
· WELCOME BACK TO THE TOP 10: Just five races ago, following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event in New Hampshire, Joey Logano found himself with back-to-back 40th-place finishes (a result of tire failures) and he was 19th in the Sprint Cup Series point standings, 36 points outside of the top 10. Now, Logano and his No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team have clawed their way back inside the top 10 following five straight top-10 finishes. Logano is now 10th in the point standings, four points ahead of 11th place.
· STREAK CONTINUES: Logano’s impressive run since those two tire failures has allowed him to break back into the top 10. Logano has grabbed five consecutive top 10s, including a win in Michigan and a fifth-place last week in Bristol. Logano has now finished in the top-10 in 10 of his last 13 races. Over the last five races, Logano has scored more points than any other NSCS driver.
· DOUBLE DUTY: Logano will be back behind the wheel of the No. 22 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) this weekend at Atlanta. His last NNS start for the team came at Watkins Glen on August 10 when he finished 21st in the team’s third entry.
· IMPRESSIVE STATS: With his fifth-place finish at Bristol, Logano now has seven top-five and 13 top-10 results this season. Those numbers stack up well for Logano. The seven top-fives already match a career-best for Logano and he is just three top 10s away from setting a career-best mark as well. His 13 top 10s is third best amongst all NSCS drivers this season (trailing only Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch). His seven top-five finishes is fifth best amongst all drivers this season.
· NO REST FOR THE WEARY: Logano and his No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team, along with teammate Brad Keselowski, tested at Chicagoland Speedway Monday and Tuesday this week in preparation for the upcoming event at the 1.5-mile track.
THE Q & A
JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD
WITH TWO RACES TO GO UNTIL THE CHASE, DO YOU CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE GOING INTO ATLANTA?
“We plan on doing nothing different at Atlanta. We want to just keep doing what we have been doing. We have been fighting back all year long, so if we go into the weekend with the same mindset, then we will hopefully continue to perform at the level we have been. We have put ourselves in the position that we need to be right now. So now we just need to build on it. Keep gaining points and keep getting the best finish that we can. That’s how we are going to go into these final two weeks. The Chase is our ultimate goal.”
YOU HAVE SAID THIS TEAM DESERVES TO BE IN THE CHASE. WHY IS THAT?
“We have fought from behind and fought off problems all year long. We keep getting put in bad positions and it never gets the guys down. Even in a bad race, we still fight back. Bristol was the perfect example of that. We just have fought through so much. We have clawed our way into the top-10 in points from 19th twice this year. That’s huge. That’s how you prove you don’t give up. So these guys on this team, they deserve to be in the top-10 and in the Chase.”
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