Penske Racing

Team Penske GoBowling.com 400 Race Preview

July 29, 2014

THE RACE
 
GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway (2.5-mile speedway, Pocono, Penn.)
Sunday, August 3, 1:00 pm ET
 
THE CARS

No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion
Driven by Brad Keselowski

The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion
Driven by Joey Logano
 

THE NEWS AND NOTES

No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion

· SECOND TIME AROUND: In the first 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono about eight weeks ago, Keselowski looked poised to collect his second career victory at the Tricky Triangle. Unfortunately, a piece of debris on the grill affected the car’s performance and resulted in a tough second-place finish. The team heads into this weekend with a different chassis and a few ideas on how to make the Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion even faster at Pocono Raceway.

· TOP SEED IN THE RACE TO THE CHASE: On the strength of three victories, nine top-five and 10 top-10 finishes, Keselowski holds down the top spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Grid Standings. He has a 38-point advantage over second place driver, Jimmie Johnson.

· HELLO YELLOW NO. 2 ALLIANCE TRUCK PARTS FORD: This weekend marks a return to the Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion for Keselowski and the No. 2 team. This will be the fourth out of eight designated races this season in the bright yellow machine.

· LEGIT DIGITS:  As the Chase Grid leader and number three-ranked driver in the overall series point standings, Keselowski and the No. 2 Team Penske team have posted the numbers to support their bid for a second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. As one of only two drivers with three victories this season, they are well positioned entering the final stretch of races heading into the Chase. The team’s impressive results also include seven top-three finishes through 20 races.

· CHASE EDUCATION: On Wednesday of this week, Keselowski will participate in a commercial shoot at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The commercial is designed to educate fans on the new Chase format as well as get them excited about witnessing the beginning of the new era of the NASCAR championship playoff system.

· BARTENDER BRAD IS BACK: Last week Miller Lite and Keselowski unveiled a new interactive online campaign where fans can ask “Bartender Brad” for advice via twitter using the hashtag #bartenderbrad. On Thursday, July 31 at 7:00 p.m., ET, the bartender himself will be appearing at Burke’s Tavern located at 1194 Pocono Blvd. in Mt Pocono, Penn.

· TWO STATE DOUBLE PLATE: Keselowski, the most recent driver to win a title in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) and then follow it up with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, will be driving in both series this weekend – at Pocono and in the NNS event at Iowa Speedway. This will mark his seventh “Double Duty” weekend of the 2014 season. This opportunity will bring additional challenge of two races taking place in two states with the tracks being 977 miles apart and occupying two different time zones.


THE Q&A

BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 ALLIANCE TRUCK PARTS FORD

YOU HAD A VERY FAST CAR IN THE JUNE RACE AT POCONO. DO YOU EXPECT TO BE THAT STRONG THIS WEEKEND?

“The track surface is generally different in each of the two races we run at Pocono, but we do have a few options available to enhance the performance of our Alliance Truck Parts Ford. We did have an exceptionally strong car there back in June and coming up short of the victory definitely left an impression on me and the whole team. We feel as though we are better now than we were then in a lot of areas, and that bodes well for us this weekend. I am looking forward to it.”

PAUL WOLFE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 2 ALLIANCE TRUCK PARTS FORD

THE TEAM JUST MISSED OUT ON A VICTORY AT POCONO LAST TIME OUT. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR CHANCES THIS WEEKEND?

“That last race was a tough one to swallow as it is never fun to lose one like that, but we were able to learn a few things from that race and we will do our best to put that knowledge to good use this weekend. As I’ve mentioned before, we continue to develop our program each week, and we always look forward to the second visit to a track as it gives us another means of checking our progress and adjusting accordingly. This weekend, we feel pretty good about it. Our Ford Fusion had a lot of speed the last time around, and we’ve put together some good runs. I think we’ll do alright.”

 

THE NEWS AND NOTES

The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion
 
· CLINCHED INTO THE PLAYOFFS:
With Joey Logano’s fifth-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend, a career-best at the track and his seventh top-five finish of the season, he officially clinched a spot in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase for himself and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford team. It will be Logano’s second-straight appearance in the Chase after he finished eighth in the series point standings last season. Heading into Pocono, Logano is positioned sixth in the Chase Grid standings and ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season point standings.

· STILL A STATS LEADER: Logano last won at Richmond in April, but the 24-year-old driver is still one of the best in the series throughout the course of the season, backed up by the 2014 stats. Logano has the second-highest overall average running position in the race, the highest at the mid-race point, the most laps run in the top 15, the third-highest driver rating and he has led the fourth-most laps of any driver in the series. Logano is only four top-five finishes away from establishing a new career high, which he set last season at Team Penske.

· TV STAR: This past week, Logano taped a commercial at Charlotte Motor Speedway for NASCAR and ESPN promoting the upcoming Chase.  The commercial will help explain the Chase format to fans and will highlight the drivers that are already locked into the post-season activities.

· JOEY THE BOWLER: Leading into the GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono this weekend, Logano took part in a bowling tournament to help promote the event a couple of weeks ago in Mooresville, NC.  Logano and his team of media members and crew members from the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford defeated the team of Kasey Kahne in the head-to-head format. Logano also won $1,000 for his charity, the Joey Logano Foundation, in the process.

· SEE LOGANO AT POCONO: As part of the GoBowling.com 400 weekend, Logano will make a stop at the Tricky Triangle Club at Pocono on Sunday, August 3.  Logano will appear at 9:20 am ET.  Tickets for the event can be purchased via the Pocono Raceway website.
 

THE Q&A 
 
JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD

IS THERE A LITTLE LESS PRESSURE ON THE TEAM NOW THAT YOU ARE OFFICIALLY LOCKED INTO THE CHASE?

“Not really. Even though it wasn’t mathematically, we have felt like we were in the Chase for the last few weeks. The only pressure I feel is wanting to win a couple of more races before the Chase begins and get a few more bonus points. I’m happy that we can go into Richmond knowing that we have nothing to worry about this year.  There will be no pressure to try and make the Chase. We are already in.  And I think that is a result of my team behind me. I have the best guys in the garage in my book. We work so well together both on and off the track. You see it when we are at the track and when they are just working in the shop during the week. It’s cool to see a group like that. I think we just need to keep doing what we are doing, get a little extra momentum building at the right time and go into the Chase as a hot team. There is no reason that this team can’t win the title this year. We all believe it.”

WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE STATS, DO YOU REALIZE YOU HAVE HAD A BETTER YEAR THAN YOUR RESULTS SHOW?

“For sure. We’ve had a lot of bad luck during the middle part of the season here. If we could have finished just somewhere near where we were running during some of those races, I think we would be a top-three car in the points right now. But you can’t worry about that. All we do as a team is just say we know we were running well, even if our results don’t show it. Hopefully we have gotten some of that bad luck out of the way early, and we won’t have those type of engine issues or mechanical problems when we get into the Chase.  That is important with this new format. We need to make sure we keep ourselves in it all the way to (the final race at) Homestead to have a chance to win this thing.”

 
 

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