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Jul 10, 2013 - 07:34 AM
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2013 New Hampshire (Loudon): Penske Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Jul 10, 2013 - 07:31 AM
NASCAR News
2013 New Hampshire (Loudon): Penske Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview


THE NEWS AND NOTES

· KEY STRETCH: While Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team currently find themselves outside the cutoff point for the Chase for the Championship, no one is hitting the panic button. In 2012, Keselowski posted an average finishing position of 7.8 at the eight tracks that remain on the schedule until the Chase begins. In 2011, his average finishing spot was 8.6 over those same races.

 

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· FIRST CAREER POLE AWARD: In the 2010 fall race weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS), Keselowski scored his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) pole award with a then-track record run of 28.515 seconds.

· DRIVER TURNED CREW CHIEF: Miller Lite Ford crew chief Paul Wolfe has an extensive driving history at NHMS. The 36-year-old has one career start in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the venue, along with 11 starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (KNPSE) competition. In those 11 KNPSE starts, Wolfe accumulated four top-five finishes, six top-10 results and 137 laps led.

· MEET KESELOWSKI: Keselowski will make an appearance at Makris Lobster and Steak located at 351 Sheep Davis Road in Concord, N.H. on Thursday evening at 7:00 pm ET.

· TUNE IN: Keselowski recently had a guest-starring role on Sullivan and Son – the comedy produced by actor Vince Vaughn. The episode will air on Thursday, July 18 at 10 pm ET on TBS.

· OFF-WEEKEND ACTIVITIES: Even though there won’t be a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race for Keselowski next weekend, the defending series champ will still be busy. Following the race at NHMS he, along with Penske Racing teammates Joey Logano and AJ Allmendinger, will fly to Lake Tahoe, Calif. for a visit with team sponsor Discount Tire. Keselowski will then travel to the ESPY awards show where he has been nominated for both the Best Driver and the Best Championship Performance awards. His week will then come to a close when he participates in a late model race in Nova Scotia, Canada.

· YOUNGEST RECORD BOOK: Joey Logano made history back in 2009 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when the then 19-year, one-month and four-day-old driver became the youngest ever winner in Sprint Cup Series history after he won the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. The victory, which came in his Rookie of the Year campaign, allowed Logano to add to an already impressive resume. This included becoming the youngest NASCAR Nationwide Series winner the previous season when he won at Kentucky Speedway just three weeks after his 18th birthday. Logano is also the youngest pole winner in the history of the Sprint Cup Series.

· SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Logano will participate in a special press conference at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway Media Center on Friday morning (July 12) at 9:30 am ET. Logano will announce the launch of a new organization and will be joined by members of the NASCAR Foundation and Shell Oil Company.

· CHAMPIONS BREAKFAST: In what has become an annual tradition for Logano, the 23-year-old driver will once again participate in the Champions Breakfast (formerly the Governors Breakfast) on Friday morning at NHMS. The breakfast, which supports two charities that Logano has long been involved with - CHaD and David’s House – will feature a Q&A session with Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Richard Petty and it will be hosted by Dr. Dick Berggren.

· DOUBLE DUTY: Logano will once again be doing double duty at NHMS this weekend as he will be back behind the wheel of the No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday.

THE Q & A

BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD

YOU ARE BEGINNING A STRETCH OF TRACKS THAT HAVE BEEN VERY GOOD FOR YOU IN THE PAST. IS NOW THE TIME WHEN THE TEAM BEGINS TO REALLY TURN IT ON?

“It would be really easy for me to say that we need to hit the panic button if we didn’t have speed in our cars. Speed is something that can take months – or even years – to develop. That would make me really uneasy. But the fact is that we’ve been fast almost everywhere we’ve been. We just need execution and luck. Take last weekend. We come off pit road after the final stop in second place, but we finish 21st with an intact racecar. Whether that was being in the wrong line for other restarts or getting stuck three-wide with no help, those are things that are out of your control, to a certain degree. We do have some very good racetracks coming up for us and I’m confident that our speed will carry us through to the Chase.”

IN SEVEN CAREER STARTS YOU HAVE FOUR TOP-10 FINISHES AT LOUDON. WHY DO YOU THINK YOU DO SO WELL THERE?

“Loudon has become a pretty good racetrack for me. Our flat-track program at Penske Racing has been pretty solid as a whole. It’s one of the tracks where (crew chief) Paul (Wolfe) has experience as a driver. It’s very hard to emphasize how much of a difference that can make. After testing up there two weeks ago, I feel really good about our package for the race. It should be a good weekend for the Miller Lite Ford team.”

JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR BEST MEMORIES OF NHMS?

“Obviously when anyone thinks about it, they think of my win here back in 2009. And that was a great memory. To finally get your first Cup win, even in a rain-shortened event, was amazing. That’s something they can’t take away from you. But I also remember coming here as a kid. The first Sprint Cup Series race I ever went to was at this track. So I have a lot of memories here. But I’d really like to win another race – a full-distance race – and make even more memories here.”

HOW DO YOU LEAD THE TEAM AFTER LAST WEEK’S DISAPPOINTMENT AT DAYTONA?

“This is the time where you really need to step up and become a leader for the team and make sure everyone keeps their spirits up. We were all pretty bummed with what happened at Daytona, but even after the race, the guys were positive and we all said ‘we’ve come back from a few points down already this year and we will do it again.’ That is the type of attitude this team has and that is what we need to keep doing. There is plenty of time to get right back to where we were.”

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