Keselowski expects improvement this time at Phoenix

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Penske Racing press release

This Week’s Charger… The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger team will race chassis PRS-810 during Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). This is a new chassis to the No. 2 fleet.

Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing Dodge
Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing Dodge

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in 2012… After one points-paying event, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger team are ranked 29th in the 2012 driver point standings and 32nd in the owner points standings following a 32nd- place finish last weekend in the 54th running of the Daytona 500.

Twitter History…Keselowski made social media history on Monday night during the Daytona 500 when he became the first driver to tweet pictures from his racecar. A quantifiable success, the attention garnered during the extended red-flag period not only tripled his Twitter following to over 200,000, but it provided an interesting storyline during the long delay.

350 and 100… Two nice, round numbers that represent the total number of all-time race victories by Penske Racing and the total number of stock car wins by Penske Racing, respectively. The most recent victory came in the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway when Keselowski scored the win.

Shedding the Dark Horse Label… Thanks to three wins, 10 top-five finishes, 14 top-10 results and 19 races led for a total of 287 laps, Keselowski’s breakout 2011 Cup Series season has him poised to enter 2012 as a legitimate contender for the championship.

Here’s To The Hill…The featured tag line on the rear bumper of the “Blue Deuce” this weekend in Phoenix will be “Here’s to the Hill. Located outside turns three and four, “Rattlesnake Hill,” is one of the most-popular features of the PIR complex and a place where many fans watch the races.

The Rest is History... The first start for Penske Racing at the one-mile PIR oval came in 1991 as Rusty Wallace qualified 10th and finished fifth. The organization has made a total of 60 starts at PIR with one win (Wallace – 1998), six poles and 13 top-five finishes.

Brad Keselowski on the shortened week going in the race at Phoenix International Raceway

“We’ve moved some things around at the shop – meetings and conferences. It's really more of a problem for the motorhome drivers and the transporter drivers. NASCAR has pushed back the time that the transporters park, which was cool of them to do. Those drivers are the ones that keep this sport moving. I've talked to (crew chief) Paul (Wolfe) and my team while we've been down (at Daytona) so we're up to speed on what we need to do for Phoenix, as well as Las Vegas. I'll probably use my time back at home to take care of personal things.”

Keselowski on the new Phoenix International Raceway configuration

"I like the new Phoenix. They did an outstanding job in making a good racetrack better. It's obviously going to take a few years before the track is in optimal condition, but with it being in the desert that process can sometimes be accelerated. I'm anxious to see how much it has aged over the winter. We saw last year that guys, myself included, were making passes through the dog leg. I don't think anyone expected that going into the race. And the run you get off of Turn 4, down the frontstretch, has stayed the same. Those are the best places to pass.”

Crew chief Paul Wolfe on Phoenix International Raceway

“Something this team has prided itself on is being better when going back to a racetrack for the second time. This will be our second race on the new Phoenix surface, so we’re expecting to improve from where we were in November. If we can do that, we can win the race. The Miller Lite Dodge was a top-five car for most of the race the last time we were there, but we just weren’t able to capitalize on it when the handling went away late in the race. We know what those issues were and they have been corrected. Everyone gets amped up for Daytona – and rightly so – but we’ve been putting emphasis on Phoenix as well because it pays just as many points to win.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags avondale, dodge, keselowski, penske, twitter