Team Penske Racing drivers cautiously-optimistic about their chances this weekend at Texas
CHASE WATCH: Even though the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is just six races old, it is never too early for teams and drivers to start looking at the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship standings. After six races, Joey Logano finds himself 11th in points despite a string of bad luck and mechanical issues early in the season. Logano is positioned just five points outside of the top 10 and less than 20 points out of eighth place in the point standings.
IMPORTANT SHELL WEEKEND: The annual races at Texas Motor Speedway are always among the most important events of the season for Logano’s primary sponsor, Shell-Pennzoil. The company’s US headquarters are located in the state of Texas, 250 miles away in Houston.
LOOKING TO JOIN EXCLUSIVE COMPANY: This weekend, when most of the Sprint Cup Series drivers are enjoying a rare Sunday off, Logano will be hoping to fulfill one of his career goals. Logano will make his return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunday afternoon at Rockingham Speedway, piloting the No. 19 Ford F-Series for Brad Keselowski Racing. Logano is looking to become the 24th driver to earn at least one win in the top-three NASCAR National Series divisions (Cup, NNS, Trucks).
JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 SHELL-PENNZOIL FORD
“So far, I think the intermediate tracks have been our strong point for sure. We were really strong at Vegas and had a car that was capable of finishing in the top five and I had a small mistake on pit road. At California, I think we were one of the two or three best cars all day long and we should have won that race. So I feel like the 1.5-mile and the two-mile tracks have been our strong suit so far this year. That makes me pretty excited for this weekend.”
WHAT ADVANTAGE WILL YOU HAVE WITH THE OPEN TEST DAY ON THURSDAY?
“You can never gather too much information about these new Gen6 cars. With the testing rules that we have now, you can’t just go and test all the time, so having these open days gives us all a shot to put some information-gathering devices on these cars and really learn more about them. It will make us all closer when the weekend comes around for sure.”
TEXAS FIRSTS: Keselowski made his first Cup Series start at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) in November of 2008. After starting the race from the 37th position, the then 24-year-old Keselowski raced his way to a respectable 19th-place finishing position. In November of the following year, Keselowski made his first NASCAR start with Penske Racing at TMS, as he finished 35th in that race. Additionally, in the 2011 spring race at TMS, Keselowski led 32 laps – his first laps led at the track – before finishing 18th.
A MOMENT IN TIME: In the last race at TMS, Keselowski provided NASCAR fans with one of the most memorable moments from the 2012 Chase for the Championship as he and Jimmie Johnson traded paint down the front stretch in a classic, late-race battle.
CRAZY EIGHTS: Keselowski has qualified eighth for the last three Sprint Cup Series races at TMS.
MILLER LITE AND COWBOYS CHEERLEADERS: Keselowski will enjoy one of the true benefits of having a sponsor relationship with Miller Lite as he will sign autographs for MillerCoors employees at the Fort Worth brewery with members of the famed Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 2 MILLER LITE FORD
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON RACING AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY?
“With the way we ran at Las Vegas and Auto Club, I’m cautiously-optimistic about our chances this weekend at Texas. The asphalt has aged and is very bumpy – like Vegas – but Texas is a completely different animal. That’s one of the reasons why we decided to roll out a brand-new chassis this weekend. I thought we started figuring Texas out last year, so we’ll see if what we learned will translate to the new car. Obviously we started the season well and I don’t see a reason we won’t have speed in the Miller Lite Ford on Saturday.”
DO YOU LIKE SATURDAY NIGHT RACING?\ “I love the way NASCAR mixes in some races on Saturday nights throughout the season. The electricity around the sport just seems to ramp up when you are racing under the lights. It reminds me of my days back at Auto City Speedway and Dixie Speedway in Michigan. And we all enjoy having a Sunday off every now and then.”