Keselowski Grabs First Victory in the Chase to the 2014 Sprint Cup Championship

Brad Keselowski celebrates his victory at Chicagoland Motor Speedway
Brad Keselowski celebrates his victory at Chicagoland Motor Speedway

Penske Racing gives Ford its 1th win of the season, but the first at Chicagoland Speedway 

Brad showed patience and got his timing right on this Sunday afternoon
Brad showed patience and got his timing right on this Sunday afternoon

Joliet, Illinois (Sept. 14, 2014) – Brad Keselowski won for the second consecutive time, and the fifth overall this season, on Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway to advance to the Challenger round of the 2014 Chase.

Brad Keselowski cements his position in the next round of the Chase
Brad Keselowski cements his position in the next round of the Chase

This win puts Keselowski and Ford Racing at the front of the pack and in control of their own destiny heading to the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 21. Presently, he’s just seven points ahead of second place racer Jeff Gordon, nine ahead of his teammate Joey Logano in third, and 13 ahead of Kevin Harvick in the Chase for the 2014 Sprint Cup Championship trophy. You can check the official standings for the Sprint Cup series here.

Brad is pumped,  but ready for the next stage of his drive to become the 2014 Sprint Cup Series Champion
Brad is pumped, but ready for the next stage of his drive to become the 2014 Sprint Cup Series Champion

With only two weeks remaining in the first round of the Chase, several drivers are on the verge of being eliminated, and need to put their foot down on the accelerator. Ryan Newman finished 15th at Chicagoland Motor Speedway, after starting second on the grid, and needs to pick up the pace this Sunday. AJ Allmendinger sits five points outside the cutline, and after finishing 22nd last week, will need to find a path through the pack and finish high in the standings to keep his hopes for the second round of the Chase alive. Greg Biffle sits nine points behind the cutline and after an average start and 23rd place finish at Chicagoland Motor Speedway, is expected to let his horses do the talking this Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Sports History Today was on hand after the race to listen to Brad Keselowski talk about his win at Chicagoland on Sunday.

Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

How you were able to win? “I am not really sure what to say. I don’t really know what happened I just know we got to the lead. There was traffic and I was just digging and in the zone. The recorder was turned off so I don’t remember what happened. I had my head down doing all I could do. We had a great Miller Lite Ford Fusion that I knew from the start would be good but man it was really awesome the last few runs. We really dialed it in and the 2 crew did a excellent job. What a day. Man, I am still pumped.”

Starting 25th on the starting grid, how much patience did it take to make it to the front and win? “You have to be so patient. The cars in traffic are all over the track and it is very easy to spin out on your own and you have to pace yourself. I don’t know what to say. I am so thankful to be here. I want to say thanks because I know the fans can hear me. I saw all of them standing on their feet when we made the pass for the lead and that was awesome. Thank you fans for being here and for your support. What a great day. God that was sweet.”  How does it feel to make it to the next round of the Chase? “Awesome.”

Give our readers a few comments about the way the race played out for you today. “I guess you couldn’t ask for a better way to start the Chase other than starting up front.  Just phenomenal with the way things played out.  I don’t know if we were the fastest car.  There were some runs where I thought we were really fast and then some runs where I thought the 4 and the 42 were really fast.  It was so hard to tell.  Whoever had the cleanest air was really at such an advantage. But towards the middle part of the race, that’s when we lost track position.  That was something that we all thought was awful at the time, but I guess it worked out.  Then from there we just fought, just climbed and clawed. I think we got up to eighth, and Paul made the call or decision to pit a little bit late.  It worked out perfectly.  We were able to be on pit road right as the yellow came out.  That put us from eighth to fourth, I think.  We were able to take advantage with that on the restarts, get up to third. I just saw a hole and I went for it.  The 4 and the 42 were racing really hard, doing all the things they needed to do.  It just opened a hole.  I didn’t know if my car would stick or not, but I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t try it.  I tried it, it did.  That got us into the lead. Even that was going to be close.  I think the 42 was quite a bit faster as the long run went.  We got that yellow.  Things evened out.  We were able to take advantage from there.”

Everything didn’t go well with the car today, but despite this you seemed to be confident throughout the race. Was there ever a time during the race you thought things were about to fall apart, or were you confident throughout the competition? “I knew we were going to need to catch a break to get to Victory Lane from there.  That was going to be tough.  We did catch a small one.  But I was really surprised how much speed we had to get as close as we did to the front there.  That was amazing. I think we drove up to eighth.  We restarted 16th or 17th in position, but probably had to be 30th or something in car order.  So to get by that many cars, get close to the front, was really an incredible run, and put us in position to capitalize when that yellow came out.  That was something that all came together. From there, I knew once we got to fourth with 30 or 40 to go, it was going to be about executing the restarts.  We had an okay one the first time where we just really held serve.  The outside groove was very, very difficult to get a good restart in with wheel spin.  Then we had a great one there the last one.  There were three of them.  I can’t remember there were two or three of them.  The last one, once we had gotten the lead.  We just put it all together, and that was very, very special.”

Give our readers an idea of what this win means in terms of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship? “It means a lot.  My boss would say don’t read your own press clippings.  I want to enjoy the moment but I still know there’s nine weeks to go.  We have a bit of a hall pass for the next two, which I’m very appreciative.  But those other seven, nobody cares that we won Chicago, nobody cares that we won Richmond or the other three races.  It keeps resetting.  You have to reset yourself.  You have to keep developing the car and pushing as a team, whether it’s on pit road, the car handling, spec, whatever it might be, or driver tactics. So I want to be thankful for today, but I know there’s a long ways to go.  Today was about as much of a statement as you can make on a week one with ten weeks to go.  I don’t want to understate it but certainly don’t want to overstate it.  It’s a hard balance.”

What does this race mean for you and the team? Is this win a road sign the other racers need to heed? “I think kind of like I was saying before, it’s a statement for this week.  After we get done with Dover, everything resets.  I still don’t think we were the fastest car.  It was probably pretty even between the 4 and the 42 and maybe the 24.  It was about the clean air and restarts. But I’m still very thankful for what we were able to do today and we got to keep pushing.”

How is this win going to change the way you race this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway? Will you be willing to let it all loose, knowing it doesn’t really matter what you do here, or will you play it conservative and save the car for later races? “I don’t know.  I guess that’s something we have to sit down and discuss as a group.  I can’t really say I’ve thought about that in detail. I think there’s potential with people.  There’s potential with pieces we might be worried about from a reliability standpoint, things of that nature that come to mind. I don’t know what those opportunities are.  A guy like Paul, Travis, Tim Cindric, they know that best and could probably answer that question better, but we still have a lot to talk through and work on.  Certainly don’t want to lose focus on the seven races after that, as well.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup series action continues this weekend on the pavement at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Brad Keselowski will be on hand to entertain and make a run for his third consecutive Sprint Cup series win. Always willing to talk to fans and let it all go on the race track, Brad will be happy to show you his No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion, and sign an autograph.

If you can’t make it to Loudon this Sunday for the running of the Sylvania 300 on the pavement of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. ESPN’s Motorsports This Week is airing a live telecast of the second race of the 2014 Chase on NASCAR Countdown starting at 1 p.m. ET. The green flag will drop around 2:15 p.m., so you have time to grab a few snacks and get ready for the fun!

The Second Legends Million Race is Set

CONCORD, N.C. (June 17, 2011) – The second annual Legends Million

returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway Aug. 1 and 2. The largest grassroots

race in history will once again offer the largest Legend Car and Bandolero

purse of the year, as drivers do battle on the speedway’s frontstretch

quarter-mile oval.

Registration for the Legends Million begins today and is scheduled

to close on July 18. The purse structure for the 2011 Legends Million will

be prorated, based on total cars registered, so competitors are encouraged

to register early.

“As the car count goes up, the purse goes up,” said Don Hawk, vice

president of business affairs, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. “We’re asking

competitors to get their registration in as early as possible so we can get

the purse locked in.”

In the inaugural Legends Million last year, Kannapolis, N.C., native

Daniel Hemric was victorious, taking home an unprecedented $250,000. More

than 300 drivers from 36 states and two foreign countries, ranging from 12

to 72 years old, registered for the one-of-a-kind Legend Car race.

“These are the race cars that launched the careers of NASCAR drivers

like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, David Ragan, Kurt Busch and Kyle

Busch,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor

Speedway. “The Legends Million is a great opportunity for fans to come to

the track and see the future stars of NASCAR compete in the largest Legend

Car race in the world. It’s also an excellent opportunity for young drivers

to get noticed and hopefully take their career to the next level.”

Registration links are available online at

http://www.charlottmotorspeedway.com and at http://www.uslegendscars.com. The cost to

register is $500. Competitors who purchase a new Legend Car from U.S. Legend

Cars International will receive free entry into the Legends Million.

Competitors participating in the Legends Million are registered in

one of three divisions: Young Lions/Semi-Pro, Masters or the Legends

Million, which is open to all drivers. Each division will run heat races and

an A-Main race, with the Legends Million A-Feature serving as the grand

finale of the two-day event.

Competitors will complete time trials to determine their starting

position in the heat races. Drivers will then progress to B-Mains based on

their finishing position in the heats. The starting lineup for each A-Main

will consist of heat race winners and the first-place finishers from the

B-Mains. A total of 30 competitors will race in the Legends Million

A-Feature event, which will be 100 laps with a 15-minute break at lap 50.

Bandolero Beginner Bandit, Bandit and Outlaw drivers will also have

the opportunity to compete in a Bandolero Triple Crown event, with heat lap

and feature events spanning both days.

The Legends Million is open to all Legend Car competitors, 12 years

of age or older and is not restricted by division. All minors 17 and younger

must complete a minor waiver, which is available for download at

http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/waivers.

For additional information on the Legends Million, visit

http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or call the Charlotte Motor Speedway events

department at (704) 455-3205. For more information about U.S. Legend Cars

International and Legend Cars, visit http://www.uslegendscars.com or call U.S.

Legend Cars International’s headquarters at (704) 455-3896.

Connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter at

http://www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or become a Facebook fan at

http://www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.

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Helluva Good! 400 Friday Practice

Ford drivers David Ragan and AJ Allmendinger finished first and second in the opening practice session at Michigan International Speedway Friday afternoon. They will be the last two cars to qualify Saturday under new NASCAR rules and each talked about their fast lap and what it means for qualifying tomorrow.

 

DAVID RAGAN, driver No. 6 UPS Ford on his practice run: “It is sometimes easy to do that on Friday. It gets a little harder Saturday and a litter harder Sunday. Our UPS Ford is fast. We expect it to be fast when we come here to Michigan. There is a chance for rain tomorrow and the time slot for tomorrow’s qualifying falls in line with that first practice so we spent some time in qualifying trim, as did some of our teammates. It was fast I look forward to seeing how it is after a few more laps in race trim this second practice.”

 

YOU GO LAST TOMORROW IN QUALIFYING. “It doesn’t change much for us. We have seen that you can go out and sandbag and try to have an earlier spot but that kind of messes with the rhythm of the weekend. Our opinion is to go out and go as hard as we can every lap of every practice and let the chips fall where they fall. It may hurt us a little bit going out really late if it gets really warm out, but our UPS Ford has enough speed in it that we feel like we have a great shot at the pole and certainly a top-five or top-10 run.”

 

AJ ALLMENDINGER, driver No. 43 Best Buy Ford on his practice run: “The tough thing about this place is that it will change so much by Sunday and get a lot slicker. We are just trying to get a good baseline package. I think race trim is okay and the qualifying run right there was a good lap. I don’t know if I could match that again. We will see how this next practice goes.”

 

YOU WILL QUALIFY SECOND TO LAST, DOES THAT CHANGE YOUR APPROACH AT ALL? “Well, we will see. A lot of the strategy with that is the rain that is coming. If it rains then we will start second in the race which is good. We have been starting like crap lately so that would be nice. I know how this track is going to slicken up, so we have to keep working on a good package, but this is at least a good start.”

AJ Allmendinger Post Qualifying Press Conference

AJ Allmendinger Post Qualifying Press Conference

GOOD QUALIFYING EFFORT OUT OF YOU, YOU HAVE TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT STARTING UP FRONT TOMORROW NIGHT.  “Yeah, this is not one of my best tracks. We have had decent qualifying runs here, but it just seemed like in the race we are a little bit off. I felt excited all day today about being in race trim. The car was pretty good. Juan (Pablo Montoya) got to go out there and put a lap down, but I had to sit and wait and watch everyone put down these fast laps. You start going ‘Man, can I run that fast?’  Starting up front here is important and to be in the top five is a good thing. Hopefully we just have a solid day tomorrow.  HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR CAR IS GOING TO TRANSFER GOING FROM DAY TO NIGHT?  “That is something that we have really worked hard on. That is probably the thing we struggle with the most in these races. The races we practice at during the day and then race at night, our race team on the 43 side feel like we struggle with it. I am actually proud of the guys because we feel like we are making gains on narrowing in the box of making the car better. Today the car was pretty solid. Everything we did to it we were pretty fast. You never really know going into the night race, but I am pretty excited that we are at least close enough in a box that if we make some small changes before tomorrow we will be okay.”  DO YOU THINK THE ‘HAVE AT IT BOYS’ MENTALITY WILL BE PREVALENT IN THE CHASE OR WILL EVERYTHING SETTLE DOWN?  “How many guys have you made mad so far Juan?”  “I am not even in the Chase.  The way I look at it, they have to avoid me right? (laughter) Obviously it is NASCAR. Everybody has incidents. Whether anybody wants to pay up when it is time for the Chase and things like that, I think for us we have nothing to lose when it comes to it.”