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!

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Brad Keselowski & N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory Welcome Race Fanatics

Defending Bank of America 500 champion Brad Keselowski and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory were in Raleigh on Wednesday to compare notes on the 2014 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship and the Upcoming Bank of America 500

Raleigh, N.C. (Sept. 10, 2014) – Defending Bank of America 500 champion Brad Keselowski and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory say hello during a Bank of America 500 Trophy Tour stop in Raleigh, North Carolina on Wednesday.141009ac1161_lg

 

“I came to watch the race and it was one of the most incredible experiences and I’ve been a NASCAR fan ever since,” McCrory told the crowd. “I want to encourage all the people in Raleigh to come to the Bank of America 500 Oct. 10 and 11 – Friday and Saturday night. It’s a huge weekend. But don’t come to the raceway and sneak in the back like I did.”

 

“I think Charlotte is probably one of the most important races in the bracket,” said Keselowski, whose appearance was part of NASCAR’s day-long “Chase Across North America” event, which included stops by all 16 Chase drivers in major markets across the United States and Mexico. “Let me tell you why. In that bracket we have Talladega and we have Kansas – two tracks that really don’t dictate your own fate. You see a lot of wrecks in both these races so that makes it really tough. But if you can go out and win Charlotte, win that bracket and get to the next round, that can be a huge momentum swing.”

 

Brad Keselowski and Miss Sprint Cup Julianna White flirted for the cameras and shared a laugh with the hundreds of race fans that showed up at City Plaza in the heart of the city.141009ac1271_lg

 

Brad Keselowski looked relaxed while talking to fans about the importance of the upcoming Bank of America 500 for the Chase to win the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.141009ac1319_lg

 

Charlotte Motor Speedway President Marcus Smith, Brad Keselowski, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and Miss Sprint Cup Julianna White pose behind the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Trophy and Bruton Smith Trophy.141009ac1376_lg

 

NASCAR legend and the race driver credited with discovering “drafting”,  spent a little time getting to know Miss Sprint Cup Julianna White during the party Wednesday in Raleigh, N.C.juliannajunior-web1_lg

 

Country music singer/song writer Jimmy Wayne will perform a few songs on October 11 as part of the party to kick-off the Bank of America 500.jw_photo_barlowe_4-0367bdd_lg

 

People looking for a fun, free-to-attend, social event where they can meet NASCAR celebrities and legends have three more chances. The Bank of America 500 Trophy Tour will stop in three more cities during the weeks ahead, which is your opportunity to have a picture taken with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Championship and Bank of America 500 trophy. People in attendance also have the opportunity to register to win a Toyota Camry, tickets to the Bank of America 500 and other delicious prizes.

 

The schedule below lists the three remaining stops on the 2014 Bank of America 500 Trophy Tour presented by Coca-Cola and Walmart.

 

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Walmart #2265

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

3950 Grandview Dr, Simpsonville, S.C.

Monday, Sept. 29

Walmart #1842

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

4424 W. Wendover Ave, Greensboro, N.C.

Monday, Oct. 6

Walmart #4574

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

5825 Thunder Rd., Concord, N.C.

 

For more information on the events occurring during the three stops remaining in the 2014 Bank of America Trophy Tour visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.

 Photo credits: NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway

Logano Wins Third Sprint Cup Race of the Season at Bristol

His first win at Bristol Motor Speedway

Joey looked fast and ready to battle for the Chase in a few weeks time
Joey Logano edges ahead of his teammate Brad Keselowski with 44 laps to go at the race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014

Bristol, Tennessee – Joey Logano took the lead at Bristol on Saturday night in his No. 22 Ford Fusion race car with just 44 laps to go and then won the race to the finish line in amazing fashion. This first win at Bristol Motor Speedway cements his position in the race to the Sprint Cup Chase in two weeks time and serves notice to the other drivers with three wins this season that he’s definitely ready to battle for the championship.

Currently, the three teammates Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski also have three race wins this Sprint Cup season. It appears the main battle for the Sprint Cup Championship for 2014 is going to be headed by the three drivers for Hendrick Motorsports and two for Penske Racing.

Joey Logano served notice on this night that he's ready to battle for the Sprint Cup Championship
Joey Logano raises his hands in victory on Saturday night August 23, 2014 at Bristol Motor Speedway

During the after race interview Joey Logano said he wants this win to say one thing, “That we can win the thing. What a Shell/Pennzoil Ford there. When I woke up this morning I wasn’t sure if we were a winning car or not, but Todd Gordon is good salesman.  He pretty much sold me into thinking we had a winning car and we made some small adjustments on it all night and got our third win of the year.  What a year we’re having.  I’m having so much fun.  The past six or seven races have been unbelievable.  We’ve been running up front and it’s just been so much fun.  I’ve got to thank Shell, obviously Ford, Sprint and everyone that helps out at Penske – Discount Tire, Hertz, Auto Trader.  This is like one of the three biggest races of the year, I feel like – the Bristol Night race – and to have this in the record books with your name on it is really, really cool.”  HOW IMPORTANT WAS PATIENCE TONIGHT?  “Important and not important.  On the restart there when we were sixth with tires I said, ‘I’ve got to capitalize right now.’  So I went as hard as I could, raced the 20 really hard and got everybody I could and then I was trying to keep up.  The 20 was really fast and then there at the end I had something going wrong.  I don’t know if it was the brakes or a hub failing in the rear, but it started vibrating really bad and getting really loose.  I’m like, ‘Oh, come on.  A couple more laps, a couple more laps.’  So of course there’s always added drama at the end that you don’t want, but patience didn’t come into play and then when I was racing the 24 there at the end it did come into play.  We were able to make there at the end.”

“I feel like the Bristol night race is maybe the third or fourth biggest race of the year,” Logano said. “Just the atmosphere before the race, if it doesn’t pump you up, nothing does. It’s just the baddest mamma jamma race track ever built.”

 

The full race result for the Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 are below.

  1. Joey Logano, Ford

  2. Brad Keselowski, Ford

  3. Matt Kenseth, Toyota

  4. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet

  5. Kurt Busch, Chevrolet

  6. Ricky Stenhouse. Jr., Ford

  7. Carl Edwards, Ford

  8. Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet

  9. Paul Menard, Chevrolet

  10. Greg Biffle, Ford

Roush Yates Fords Set New Qualifying Records

The Ford race cars of Roush Yates were setting new time records all weekend, first on the race grid and record-book fast both in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, and ARCA Series.

Sam Hornish Jr. turned in the fastest time in the battle for pole position for the Nationwide Zippo 200 on Saturday for the second straight year at The Glen in the record lap of 123.291 mph. This speed beat the previous mark of 123.241 mph set two years ago by Kurt Busch.

Eventually, Brad Keselowski would beat his teammate Sam Hornish Jr. to the finish line on Saturday to win the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. In the end, all three Penske race cars led the 200-mile race for the duration, accept for nine laps. This Nationwide Series win is the fourth in a row for Brad Keselowski and the ninth Nationwide Series win of 2013 for Ford Racing and Roush Yates Engines.

The performance by Brad Keselowski was truly amazing. Starting in fifth position he managed to move steadily up the ladder and would eventually lead a total of 46 laps in the No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang.

He had to take the lead from his teammate and friend Joey Logano with just 16 turns around the track to go and keep Sam Hornish Jr. behind him to win by just 1.418 seconds in the end to win.

Mason Mitchell drove his No. 82 Happy Cheeks Ford to the pole position in the record lap of 93.963 on the Berlin Raceway on Saturday for Empire Racing-Mason Mitchell Motorsports during the ARCA Series. Mason will now see his name in the record books, with the top qualifying lap at the .4375-mile race track.

The driver for the No. 9 Stanley Ford, Marcus Ambrose, won the pole for the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on Sunday in the record-breaking lap of 128.241 mph. This mark is one mile an hour faster than the old mark of 127.020, set by Juan Pablo Montoya just one year ago. The 128 mph mark set by Marcus Ambrose occurred during the last qualifying group and proved too much for the other drivers on the track to match on Sunday.

The new Gen-6 race car appeared to handle the track better than the old car and it was obvious drivers were able to stay off the gas a little more, which seemed to help the brakes on the cars a bit. Watkins Glen appears to be a good track for Gen-6 race cars and the times recorded back this up.

All in all, a really good day for Penske Racing, but they still have some work to do to catch Austin Dillon. They sit just three points behind after this race, as the battle for the Nationwide Series Championship continues in Mid-Ohio next week.