Penske Racing

Team Penske STP 500 Race Preview

March 25, 2014

THE RACE

The STP 500 at Martinsville, Speedway (.526-mile oval, Martinsville, VA)
Sunday, March 30, 1:00 pm ET
 
THE CARS

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion
Driver:Brad Keselowski

The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion
Driver: Joey Logano


THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

· FRONT ROW FOR FOUR STRAIGHT: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team have embraced the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series elimination style qualifying in a big way. Since the introduction of the new system, Keselowski has qualified on the front row for the last four races including winning the pole at Phoenix. The streak represents the best qualifying stretch of Keselowski’s Sprint Cup Series career.

· SIXTH OVER FOUR: Over his last four starts at Martinsville, short oval deemed the “Paper Clip,” Keselowski has a fourth-place average finish. His best result at one of NASCAR’s original tracks came last fall with a fourth-place effort.

· TEAM PENSKE TRACK HISTORY: Team Penske owns six victories at Martinsville Speedway. All of the wins were produced by Rusty Wallace driving a Miller-sponsored machine.

· VIRGINIA LOCAL TALENT: No. 2 Miller Lite Ford pit crew member Tyler Mitchell, the rear tire carrier for the team, hails from nearby Harrisonburg, VA.

· RACE DAY AT FORD DISPLAY: Keselowski will appear at the Ford Display in the Fan Zone Sunday morning at for a question and answer session.

· BACK TO ORIGINAL LITE: The No. 2 Team Penske Ford Fusion returns to the popular Original Lite paint scheme this weekend at Martinsville.

· DRIVE TO RACE: The race at Martinsville is one of just a few events that team members drive to instead of fly. This gives team members a well-deserved break after the season-opening West Coast swing which sees the crew log many miles.

· NO REST ON THIS QUEST: After remaining on the West Coast following the Fontana race to work on some entertainment projects, Keselowski also tested at Little Rock as the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team continues to search for short-track speed.
    

THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion

· STILL RUNNING UP FRONT EVERY WEEK:  Coming off of two-consecutive races where Joey Logano had a car capable of better finishes than the result, the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team will be looking for a turnaround this weekend in Martinsville. Logano suffered a power-steering failure in Bristol while running second and fell  three laps off the pace during repairs, as he eventually finished 20th.  Last weekend in Fontana, Logano was running third when a rear end gear broke, sending him behind the wall once again which resulted in a 39th place finish.

· TEAM PENSKE = QUALIFYING:  Between Logano and his teammate Brad Keselowski, the Team Penske duo continues to experience success in NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying sessions. Logano and Keselowski, along with six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson, are the only three drivers to have advanced to the “final around” of the knockout qualifying since its inception at Phoenix. Logano has qualified second, first, fourth and seventh in the previous four races.

· COME BACK TO ME MARTINSVILLE:  Early in his career, Logano appeared to have a good handle on the paperclip-shaped Martinsville Speedway. The last couple of years have been a different story for the 23-year-old driver. Logano earned three finishes of 12th or better (including a second-place in 2010) in his first four races at Martinsville. Since then, however, Logano has produced a best finish of 13th.

· QUALIFYING AT MARTINSVILLE:  Despite his tough luck in the race, Logano has been strong in qualifying at Martinsville.  In his 10-career races at the track, Logano has qualified inside the top 10 half of the time, including starts of fourth (his career-best) and sixth last season.

· TESTING:  Over the next couple of weeks, Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team will spend plenty of time trying to make their Ford Fusions even better. The team will test at Little Rock outside of Rockingham this week and will follow that up with a test at Memphis next week prior to the race at Texas.
 

THE Q&A

BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD
YOU’RE HAVING A GREAT START TO THE YEAR, YET THE LAST COUPLE OF RACES HAVE HAD OBSTACLES. DO YOU SEE THAT CHANGING AT MARTINSVILLE?

“This No. 2 Miller Lite team has made steady improvements to our short-track program over the last few years. On top of that our Ford Fusion has had speed everywhere that we’ve been this year. The team is executing well on race day and I’m looking forward to this weekend. We have also tested on a short track recently and the information we garnered at that test gives us more options to explore at the race this weekend at Martinsville.”

WHAT STANDS OUT IN YOUR MIND ABOUT MARTINSVILLE?

“I like going to Martinsville. The track has a lot of heritage and it is one of those places that really helped to build NASCAR into what it is today. As a guy that enjoys history I can’t help but reflect on the great history that Martinsville brings. When we go to this track we are getting back to the roots of our sport.”
    

JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD

AFTER SUFFERING MECHANICAL ISSUES IN THE LAST COUPLE OF RACES, HOW DO YOU STAY POSITIVE?

“It does get frustrating. But I think it would be even more frustrating if we were not running well. The fact is that the last two weeks we’ve had cars that I really think could have won the race. We were a top-three car at Bristol and I think we could have battled for the lead late and us and the 24 were probably the two best cars in California.  So it’s frustrating, but at least we are running good and running up front. It would be even more frustrating if we were having these issues while running 20th each week. But it’s early in the season and there is plenty of time to turn it all around. We know where we are and where we need to be. We just need to fix these mechanical issues.”

IS IT CHALLENGING TO GO FROM A TWO-MILE CALIFORNIA TRACK TO A HALF-MILE MARTINSVILE?

“That is just part of our sport. When you leave one track, you immediately turn your focus to the next track. That is the best part about our sport and something I tell fans all the time when they ask me what my favorite track is. In our sport, you get to experience it all.  You get to run 2.5-mile superspeedways, two-mile wide tracks, road courses, half-mile flat tracks and half-mile banked tracks, concrete tracks and asphalt tracks. It’s really the test of who can be the best on all of them. So you get used to seeing different types of tracks week after week. You just prepare for what you have ahead of you.”

 

Back to previous page.

Copyright ©2014 Team Penske. All rights reserved.