Team Penske Coke Zero 400 Race Preview
July 1, 2014
Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway (2.5-mile speedway, Daytona, Fla.)
No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion
The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion
THE NEWS AND NOTES
No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion
· TWO FOR THE TWO: After last weekend’s dominating victory at Kentucky, Keselowski has produced two wins in 2014. As a multiple race winner, the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion is locked into the Chase for the 2014 Championship.
· THREE POLES DOUBLES PRODUCTION: Keselowski entered the 2014 Sprint Cup Series season with three career poles. Through the first 17 races of the year he has earned three poles, effectively doubling his career tally. He has also established a single-season best and series-high nine front-row starts to date in 2014.
· BUILDING ON RECENT SUCCESS: Over the past five races of the season, the No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford driver has posted four top-three finishes. Keselowski finished third in the Daytona 500 in the most recent race at the famed speedway for his best-career Daytona result. Team Penske has strong speedway cars and with the team and driver carrying momentum from last week’s win, it could be a productive holiday weekend.
· SHOWING HIS HAND AT DAYTONA: After injuring his right hand on a broken champagne bottle in last week’s victory celebration, Keselowski will be re-examined in Daytona to determine if the stitches he received at Kentucky can be removed. The injury has not slowed him down as Keselowski did participate in testing this week.
· YET ANOTHER TEST: Keselowski and the No. 2 Team Penske Ford crew participated in a test at the Milwaukee Mile this week as they prepare for upcoming short-track races.
· TEAM PENSKE AT DAYTONA: Team Penske has 89 starts at the legendary Daytona International Speedway. In its history, the team has accumulated 20 top-five finishes, 30 top-10 results and one memorable victory, which came at the 2008 Daytona 500 when Ryan Newman led a 1-2 Team Penske finish.
· OCEAN WALK BARTENDER BRAD: On Thursday, July 3 at 9:30 p.m. ET, Keselowski will be making a few stops for Miller Lite as he will be bartending and interacting with fans at the Daytona Beach Ocean Walk. Over the course of the evening Keselowski will be making stops at the Wing House, Sloppy Joe’s and Mai Tai’s
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 ALLIANCE TRUCK PARTS FORD
HOW IS YOUR HAND AND WILL IT AFFECT YOUR DRIVING THIS WEEKEND AT DAYTONA?
“My hand is a little sore, but it’s not too bad. Ideally, the stitches will come out before the race. In terms of it affecting my ability to drive, it won’t bother me at all. While I am right handed, I drive left handed, if that makes sense. On top of that, Daytona is probably the easiest place that we go in terms of the amount of load on the driver’s hands. It’s never fun getting hurt or getting stitches for that matter, but with the right perspective it can serve as a motivator. We saw that back when I hurt my ankle a couple years back. This team builds incredible speedway cars. We ran strong here back in February. The No. 2 Team Penske crew has been consistently executing at a high level, as our recent results show. All of these factors bode well for us this weekend in the Alliance Truck Parts Ford at Daytona.”
PAUL WOLFE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 2 ALLIANCE TRUCK PARTS FORD
THE TEAM IS RUNNING WELL, DOES THAT CARRY OVER TO DAYTONA THIS WEEKEND?
"Since I've come to Cup, our speedway cars are probably the strongest part of our program. We truly do have cars that are capable of winning at the speedways. I know everyone thinks they can win at them, but we actually do have great speedway cars. We ran well at Daytona back in February and on the heels of our recent performance, it is encouraging to be heading to Daytona this weekend. We should be alright there and we are well positioned to keep our momentum going.”
THE NEWS AND NOTES
· QUALIFYING STRONG: Last weekend in Kentucky, Joey Logano earned his fifth front-row starting spot of 2014, qualifying second behind teammate Brad Keselowski. Team Penske has excelled at the new “knockout” qualifying format in 2014 and Logano’s stats reflect that success. Through 15 races in which the format has been used, Logano has made the final round of qualifying 14 times – with Talladega as the lone exception. His average starting position in those 15 races is 5.7 and he has only qualified outside the top 10 on one occasion, also coming at Talladega. Perhaps the most impressive stat, however, is that in the 40 different qualifying sessions that have been run during those 15 races, Logano has qualified first, second or third an amazing 19 times, with the No. 22 emerging as the fastest car on eight occasions.
· DAYTONA TIMES TWO: Logano will return to double duty action this weekend at Daytona, racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday night with the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion and also on Friday night in the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event.
· TESTING TIME: Proving that there is no rest for the weary, Logano and the Shell-Pennzoil Ford crew were on the testing trail this week. Logano, along with teammates Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney, spent Tuesday afternoon testing at the historic Milwaukee Mile oval in preparation for the upcoming event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Both tracks are flat, one-mile ovals.
· LENDING A HELPING HAND: Logano will lend a hand to a couple of deserving causes this weekend. On Friday morning, Logano will help the NASCAR Foundation, in partnership with the Armed Forces Foundation, assemble 1,750 classroom kits that will be distributed to students in 100 schools that have families in the military. Logano will also meet with S Sgt. Christopher Lederich, the winner of the Joey Logano Foundation and Checkered Flag Foundation “Honor Your Military Hero” program. Lederich received a $5,000 donation and a VIP trip for two to the Coke Zero 400 from JLF and Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation.
JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD
HOW MUCH OF A WILD CARD DO YOU CONSIDER THE RESTRICTOR PLATE RACE AT DAYTONA THIS WEEKEND?
“Anytime that you go to a restrictor-plate track, it is somewhat of a wild card. With the new rules, we are back to pack racing and you can’t control your outcome as much as you could with the two-car tango that we did there for a couple of years. You can have the best car and get taken out in a wreck and you can have a terrible car and miss the wrecks and put yourself in a position to win it at the end. It’s all about how you position yourself and the luck that you come up with. I feel like I’ve never really gotten the finishes that I deserve at Daytona or Talladega. I always feel like I’ve run well there, but I seem to get swept up in wreck or in the wrong line at the end of the race. But that is just part of this type of racing. I really would love to go out there and win and Daytona is one of those places we all want to get a win at.”
HOW DIFFERENT IS THE KNOCKOUT STYLE OF QUALIFYING AT DAYTONA THAN ANYWHERE ELSE THE SERIES GOES?
“It’s like a little race out there honestly. I mean, you try to get in a pack and make all of the right moves. There is a lot of strategy that goes into it though. You try to find the right people to help you, normally teammates or other drivers from your same manufacturer. And you don’t want to be the first group to go, because everyone will get a draft off of you. And you need to trust the car that is running in the front of the pack, because they are leading you through everything and through the other cars as they break up. It’s definitely different. You just go out there and do your best.”
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