Keselowski Earns Front Row Start at Charlotte

May 23, 2014

CONCORD, NC (May 22, 2014) – Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team qualified on the front row for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The effort marks Keselowski’s seventh front row start of the 2014 season.

Early in the three-round “knockout” qualifying session, Keselowski had just enough speed to make the cut as he found himself 24th, the last car to make it through to the second round.

“We were pretty miserable to begin with and it’s a credit to my guys,” said Keselowski. “They kept working on it and somehow we ended up second. I’m really not sure how. The first round I think we ended up 24th, right on the bubble, and the second round we were seventh or eighth and almost got knocked out.  Then in the third round, we seemed to find a little bit more, but not quite enough and ended up second.  I’m proud of that effort and really happy for my guys to see their hard work rewarded. But the main goal is to win Sunday and hopefully we can pull that off.”

The Miller Lite team and driver were scored seventh in the second round, which allowed them the opportunity to challenge for the pole in the third and final round. Keselowski turned a 27.754 (194.567 mph) second lap around the 1.5 mile speedway to earn a second place starting position for NASCAR’s longest race. The result marked the seventh front-row start of the year for the driver of the No. 2 Ford and his ninth top-five starting spot of the season.

Fellow Team Penske driver Joey Logano will roll off eighth for Sunday evening’s race after posting a lap of 28.056 seconds (192.472 mph) in the final round.  Logano needed two runs in the first session to continue on during the “knockout” qualifying format.  After finding himself 25th as time was about to expire, Logano posted a solid lap and jumped to 14th.  Logano finished 12th in the second session and eventually eighth in the final session.  Logano has still made it to the final round in each of the “knockout” qualifying sessions run this season with the exception of the restrictor-plate track of Talladega.

“It was a stressful qualifying session, probably the most stressful of the year for us,” said Logano.  “We didn’t have a very good initial lap in the first session and got knocked out and had to go out again.  We had to make some pretty big changes to the car and there is only so much you can do when you are sitting out there on pit road.  But we made the right changes and were able to make it to the final round again.  I wish we could have done better than eighth, but considering where we started qualifying, we will take it.  I’m really proud of my guys. They didn’t give up and we now have a good starting spot for Sunday.”