Dodge’s Brad Keselowski leads the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with a 20-point advantage over Jimmie Johnson. All other Chase drivers have been mathematically eliminated.
Brad Keselowski can clinch the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with a finish of 15th or better in Sunday’s season finale; or 16th and lead at least one lap; or 17th and lead the most laps regardless if Johnson wins the race and secures the maximum 48 points.
Dodge has one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Bill Elliott – 2001). Elliott is one of two drivers to win from the pole.
FROM THE ENGINEER
"Homestead-Miami is the last race of the year, everybody knows that. But engineers this week are focused on the fact that Homestead-Miami is the last of the five, mile-and-a-half tracks in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. On those tracks this fall the poles speeds have been 193 mph, 191 mph, 191 mph, and 182 mph. The pole speed at Homestead-Miami last year was 175 mph, considerably slower than the mile-and-a-half track speed we're used to. Slower lap speeds by that margin are from diminished grip levels on the aging Homestead-Miami surface and as engineers we've got to come up with setups that can hold on to this slippery track. Softer springs, easier riding shock absorbers, smaller sway bars, and lower tire pressures, will all be in the mix of options engineers will have to consider to get a grip on the Homestead-Miami track surface."
Howard Comstock, SRT Motorsports Engineering
Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger on giving team owner Roger Penske his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship “When I first came to Penske Racing, I viewed it as an organization with so much potential. I had a vision for what I knew this place could become, and I shared that with Mr. Penske in our first meeting together. And as he began to give (crew chief) Paul (Wolfe) and I the things that we needed, we began to show results on the racetrack which, in turn, led to a lot of trust among myself, Mr. Penske, Paul and everyone else at Penske Racing. So having a legitimate shot to win the championship this weekend is something that I take great pride in because I know we got there together. Everything about this team is first-class, from our owner to our facility to our sponsor, Miller Lite. We have everything we need to be a championship contender for years to come and it’s exciting to be a part of that.”
Paul Wolfe, Crew Chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger on the crew's mentality heading into this weekend's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway “I came to Penske Racing three years ago because Brad Keselowski is the kind of driver that any crew chief would want to work with. He works as hard – and prepares as hard – as any driver I’ve been around. You want a driver that is going to give you everything he has and that’s what Brad does every week. I pride myself on having the same approach to my job, so I knew we could be successful together. Now we are one race away from doing something that no team has been able to do and that is give Roger Penske the Cup championship he deserves. We are planning on doing the same things at Homestead this weekend that got us to this point. Being cautious and ‘laying up’ is a good way to get into trouble. We are an aggressive team, and while we have the big picture in mind, we are going to do what we do.”
Paul Wolfe, Crew Chief, No 2 Miller Lite Dodge, on delivering such solid consistency over the course of this year's Chase "It's been a great Chase for us, there's no doubt about it. I think that everybody wanted to look in the stat books each and every week, and we always didn't have the best stats. We've grown so much as a team over the year that I think it's hard to look back at those things and I think that we've proved that throughout the Chase. We felt like we needed to go into Phoenix and win that race to put us in position to have a shot at it going into the final race. I was definitely caught off-guard by the 48. I expected those guys to run much better than they did. It seemed like they were never able to get it turned around. And then obviously they had the tire issue. I was caught off-guard by that a little bit. We still went there and stuck to our plan and did what we needed to do. Now, we're in a much better position than we could have planned for, hoped for going into the final race."
Paul Wolfe, Crew Chief, No 2 Miller Lite Dodge, on succeeding as a two-car Dodge team and breaking the mold that bigger isn't better "Yeah, I guess we have. That's what you typically think, that bigger is better. Dodge has done a great job supporting us. We've been able to accomplish a lot with them. For myself, the three years that I've been here, we've accomplished a lot and I know that the relationship with Penske goes a lot farther than that. In a lot of ways, it's not a bad thing to be the only Dodge team. We definitely get all the attention and I think there's a lot to be said for that."
Sam Hornish Jr., No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger on his last race in the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger “To have had the chance to climb back in a Sprint Cup car again this season has been a dream come true for me. I certainly want to thank Shell-Pennzoil and all the great sponsors we have at Penske Racing for the opportunity they gave me and the confidence they have shown in me. We are hoping to have the kind of performance that will make all of our supporters proud during the final race weekend of the season. The backing and encouragement we have received from the sponsors, the fans, the media – everyone we have had the pleasure to work with – has been tremendous. We’re certainly appreciative of having the chance to drive the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge. When the checkered flag falls at Homestead on Sunday, I hope everyone can look back and say that we did a respectable job. I hope they can say that we put forth a reputable effort as a replacement driver for the second half of the season. Most of all, I hope that they all agree that I’ve shown a degree of competitiveness that is deserving of a ride in Sprint Cup competition.”