Dodge's Keselowski leads the points heading to Martinsville

Dodge’s Brad Keselowski leads the Chase for the Sprint Cup driver standings by seven points over Jimmie Johnson. He has led the point standings after five of the six Chase races. It’s the first time in the history of the NASCAR playoff format that a Dodge driver has led the Chase standings. Keselowski has an average finish of 5.6 through the first six Chase races.

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

"While the race at Martinsville is considered by most to be one of the ‘wild cards’ of the Chase, teams can't afford to add the chance of component failure to that equation. If anything fails during the race at the half-mile circuit, your hopes for even a reasonable finish are over. Engineers have known for years that the greatest cause of component failures, when we run the tight half-mile track, is the heat created in the engines, transmissions, rear axles, and brakes. To that end, we continue to develop things to combat the heat including special-material heat shields, heat resistant oils and lubricants, heat blocking coatings applied to critical parts, and ever-improving air flow to coolers and at-risk parts. You're always fighting two things at Martinsville: traffic and heat." Howard Comstock, SRT Motorsports Engineering

“Martinsville is just one of those tracks where it seems like there are numerous variables that we've struggled with, and I don't think they're our fault. I look at last year, I think we were running fifth or sixth in the fall and just got caught up in a wreck on a late race restart caused by somebody who retaliated on the track. You don't know how to predict that or I don't feel like there was anything I could do about it.

“And then similar in nature, this past spring where we were running fourth or fifth and had that mishap down in Turn 1.” Brad Keselowski, No 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

“We have a brand-new Miller Lite Dodge this weekend and I’m excited about its potential. We were able to test at Rockingham and came away very pleased. One key for me is that we are racing on the same tire we’ve been on for the last two Martinsville races. The left rear tire is very important for forward bite at Martinsville so it’s nice to know we can use some of our older notes. Track position is paramount, so we know we need to qualify well. It’s still Martinsville so anything can happen, but Brad likes racing there and we are a confident team heading into this weekend. We really haven’t gotten the finishes we deserve there in past years. If you keep running in the top five or the top 10, good things will happen. Hopefully that is the case this weekend.” Paul Wolfe, crew chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

“This is a track that I have definitely been looking forward to returning to. The record book shows that the 22 team had our best finish this season there in the spring race with AJ (Allmendinger) driving. I know a lot of people remember that the race came down to a final restart and we got the best out of the situation. But the fact is that we had a solid top-10 car during the last half of the race. We’re coming in there this weekend with a hundred percent Sam Hornish. This is all the racing that Sam will be doing this week – total focus on the Cup side and our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge. Unlike last weekend at Kansas where there was the new track and an advantage to running both Nationwide and Cup, this is the same old Martinsville. Sam has nothing to concentrate on but the Cup race.” Todd Gordon, crew chief, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger

“Martinsville is another track where our competitiveness is not accurately shown in our statistics there. You can count on there being a lot of beating and banging on every restart at Martinsville and there is always someone trying to get right in there on your inside. I think it’s a track where I have learned better how to race there in each visit.” Sam Hornish Jr., No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger

Source: SRT Motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Teams Team Penske
Article type Preview
Tags dodge, hornish, keselowski, martinsville, penske, srt