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Brian Keselowski hopes 'Dega spurs another start
RELATED: Full race results from Talladega Brian Keselowski was all smiles on pit road after finishing 17th in the Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, as he debriefed with his team and chatted with those surrounding him. But under the smile lay a level of disappointment -- his chance at his first NASCAR major series victory in his first Truck start had faded away like his diminishing fuel cell, the culprit of Keselowski's demise in the final laps of the fred's 250 presented by Coca-Cola. "I'm emotional. I'm really proud of how we ran," Keselowski said on pit road after the race. "I'm disappointed that it was probably my only chance. We'll see how it works out." Keselowski -- who is a crew chief for ARCA driver Matt Kurzejewski and part-time driver in the series -- seemed poised for victory, as he was lined up to restart fourth for a green-white-checkered attempt in a Ford owned by his brother Brad Keselowski . His performance throughout the day had shown brighter than his lack of experience behind the wheel of a truck, as he had battled back to the front after getting slapped with a pit road speeding penalty early, and even led 10 laps around the 2.66-mile track. "We worked our way through the pack really quick and I was like, 'Wow, that's good,' " Keselowski said. "… All of a sudden we're out in front of a pack and everybody is starting to pit and we're weaving our way through traffic and the 4 (of Erik Jones ) is with me and I'm like, 'We might be leading this thing.' " But determination can take a driver only so far. Prior to the restart, Keselowski made the disappointing trudge down pit road, his No. 29 truck fuel cell as dry as the Alabama asphalt. It was a moment that was heart sinking for Brad Keselowski Racing team owner and younger brother Brad Keselowski , who had given Brian the opportunity to pilot the No. 29 for injured Austin Theriault . "I really thought he was going to win it," Brad Keselowski said, tilting his head back in dismay in the Talladega garage after Saturday's Sprint Cup Series qualifying session. "… He did great, he really did. I was really happy to see him run up front, disappointed he didn't finish off, but he did everything I could ever ask him to and more." Brad Keselowski 's girlfriend Paige White tweeted at Brian after the race, saying that their motorcoach needed a new floor due to Brad's pacing during the Truck race. "You made him proud!" she said. Despite the finish that was marred with disappointment, Brian Keselowski 's strong showing at the superspeedway gave the 34-year-old driver one crucial element: confidence. "It kind of validated what I always thought -- that I could do it, I just never had a chance." Keselowski said. And win or not, its certainly a performance Keselowski hoped others were watching. "We had a really good truck," Keselowski said. "I hope I showed somebody I could do it."
Keselowski hires familiar face for BKR ride
Brad Keselowski posted a blog late Thursday evening indicating that a new driver will be behind the wheel of the No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford -- his brother, Brian . The elder Keselowski will suit up for next Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM). The ride was opened up because the truck's full-time driver, Austin Theriault , was injured in an accident during the Rhino Linings 350 on Oct. 3 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . On short notice, Keselowski kept it close to home. Excited to announce the newest member of our @TeamBKR truck team, my brother @KeselowskiBrian . My blog on why now: http://t.co/zo1UG9xTIp — Brad Keselowski (@ keselowski ) October 16, 2015 Brian was more than thrilled at the notion. I've been waiting most if my life to say this, I get to drive the #29 truck @TalladegaSuperS ! I'm so excited I can hardly stop smiling — Brian Keselowski (@KeselowskiBrian) October 16, 2015
Keselowski completes weekend sweep of qualifying
Brian Scott will join Brad Keselowski on the front row
Brian Wilson promoted to No. 22 crew chief in XFINITY Series
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (January 18, 2016) – Team Penske announced today that one of its most accomplished engineers will take on a new challenge beginning in 2016, as Brian Wilson has been named crew chief of the No. 22 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS). Wilson will assume the crew chief role while Greg Erwin, who guided the No. 22 team to its third-consecutive NXS Owners' Championship this past season, will return as team manager of Team Penske 's NXS program. The No. 22 team has earned an amazing 25 wins with four different drivers ( Joey Logano , Brad Keselowski , Ryan Blaney and AJ Allmendinger ) over the course of the last three seasons. The No. 22 Mustang is the first car to capture three-consecutive NXS Owners' Championships. Wilson joined Team Penske in 2004 and has served as race engineer on both the No. 22 NXS team as well as the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team over the last several years. A native of Detroit, Mich., Wilson played a key role on Team Penske 's first two NASCAR championships. He was race engineer on the No. 22 team that captured the 2010 NXS title with driver Brad Keselowski and he served in the same capacity in 2012 when Keselowski and the No. 2 team captured the Sprint Cup Series title. " Brian has been an integral part of two of our NASCAR championships over the last few years and he has shown he deserves the opportunity to lead a team as he has demonstrated the ability to consistently produce race-winning cars," said Roger Penske. " Brian has earned this opportunity and we believe he is the right person to lead the No. 22 team as it prepares to race for four-straight titles in 2016." After first coming on board as a shock specialist with Team Penske , Wilson became engineer of the No. 2 Miller Lite car in the Sprint Cup Series in 2007. Alongside crew chief Paul Wolfe, he transitioned to race engineer of the newly-formed No. 22 NXS team in 2010. After the team won the title with Keselowski that season, Wolfe moved into the crew chief role of the No. 2 Miller Lite team while Wilson was promoted to the Sprint Cup Series race engineer position. Over the last five seasons, the tandem of Wolfe and Wilson helped lead the Miller Lite team to 16 wins, 10 poles, 58 top-five finishes and Team Penske 's first Sprint Cup Series Championship with Keselowski behind the wheel in 2012. "I am looking forward to this new challenge and the opportunity to lead the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang team after my last stint there during our first championship season in 2010," said Wilson. "This is a team that has certainly proven that they know how to win and I want to continue that tradition. I'm excited to get a chance to continue to work with Brad and to get to work more closely with Joey and Ryan. Our goal will be to maintain the level of success that this team has shown since its beginning and continue to race for wins each and every week. Winning that fourth-straight NASCAR XFINITY Series Owners' Championship would just be the ultimate prize." The NASCAR XFINITY Series will open its season on February 20th at Daytona International Speedway .
With performance in hand, '16 time to execute for Keselowski
Improving on 2015 begins at the restart for Brad Keselowski ’s No. 2 Team Penske squad. It’s not like 2015 was too far off of Keselowski ’s 2012 championship form. The No. 2 driver made the Round of 8 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and finished the year in seventh place. But we know in NASCAR, off by just a fraction of an inch can make enormous differences. In terms of wins, Keselowski was off by that fraction: He had only one win in 2015 after compiling six in 2014. Last season it was the No. 22 Penske car and Joey Logano which racked up six wins -- though both drivers piled up the laps led with 1,431 for Logano and 1,185 for Keselowski . One key difference for the No. 2, crew chief Paul Wolfe said, was late-race restarts. "Ultimately, I feel like we ended last season much stronger than we were in '14 and you can't always judge a team by the amount of wins," Wolfe said during last week's Charlotte Media Tour. "I try to look at the bigger picture of the performance and where it was at. That being said, we need to be able to execute a little better. We didn't execute like we needed to. I think a lot of that comes down to communication between Brad and I and understanding what we can do to make our car better on the late-race restarts." Keselowski dominated a few races at the end of the 2015 season, with top-four finishes at Talladega, Texas and Homestead, showing the wins are just waiting to resurface. And the low-downforce rules package appears to play into his strengths: He had a sixth-place finish at Kentucky and a runner-up finish at Darlington, both of which featured a lower downforce package in 2015. "I like the new car; like the new direction in many ways. I like where we're headed as a manufacturer," Keselowski said during the media tour. Driver and crew chief are on the same page in terms of the rules package. "I'm optimistic about the rules change, the aero package and feeling like we've done a good job over the last couple of years being a team that can really adapt well," Wolfe said. "We're looking forward to the challenge, for sure." Both Keselowski and Logano are excited about their equipment and adapting quickly to the rules changes. "I think Team Penske's done a great job, obviously with working with the new rules and coming out of the gate strong," Logano said. "I think last year we saw how important that is. … You click off a couple of wins and lock yourself into the Chase early, and that really pays dividends once the Chase comes around." Logano believes Team Penske will stack up well against Toyota's powerhouse teams in 2016, particularly as fellow Ford team Roush Fenway Racing makes moves to improve. "I think we're going to be in good shape," Logano said. "You look at our new body, I think the new body is going to be good for us. … I feel comfortable with the way Roush Yates has improved our motors in the offseason. We're working internally as just the 22 team, but we have to work on a larger scale with the Penske team and even larger scale with the manufacturer." As for competition between inside the Penske team, Keselowski says he and Logano push each other to be better, battling for wins as they share information. "Certainly there's a little bit of brotherhood there, but all in a good way," Keselowski said. " We're great teammates. We work together really well." Chasing a championship is never easy, though. "There's always tension, right?" Keselowski asked. "We're here to win and anything less is unacceptable. I think there's a little bit of a blessing that we won a championship so early because that instills a lot of confidence that anything is possible."
Johnson, Keselowski top Saturday's Kansas practices
RELATED: Keselowski lands Coors Light Pole Award " Practice 2 results " Final practice results Jimmie Johnson soared to the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series speed charts in Saturday afternoon's final practice at Kansas Speedway . Johnson logged a session-best lap of 188.983 mph in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet, upending pole-starter Brad Keselowski 's bid for a perfect weekend at the 1.5-mile track. Johnson, eliminated early from title contention, will start 21st in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 (2:15 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM), the second race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs' Contender Round. Keselowski settled for second-fastest in the Team Penske No. 2 Ford, posting a lap of 188.930 mph, just eight thousandths of a second off Johnson's top time. The 2012 series champ won the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying and led the first two practices before Saturday's final session. Denny Hamlin was third-fastest, just ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth . Joey Logano -- who has already clinched his spot in the Eliminator Round by winning the Contender opener last week at Charlotte -- completed the top five in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Kevin Harvick , the Sprint Cup Series defending champion, was 18th-fastest overall in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet. Final practice positions for the rest of the championship-eligible Chase drivers: Carl Edwards (sixth), Dale Earnhardt Jr . (ninth), Martin Truex Jr . (10th), Ryan Newman (11th), Kurt Busch (16th), Kyle Busch (24th) and Jeff Gordon (29th). Hamlin sat atop the five-lap average heap, followed by Johnson, Truex, Keselowski and Kenseth. In the 10-lap-average category, Johnson led, followed by Truex, Kasey Kahne , Kenseth and Harvick. Keselowski shows the way in second practice Coors Light Pole Award winner Brad Keselowski backed up his Friday show of speed by rocketing to the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leaderboard Saturday in second practice at Kansas Speedway . Keselowski clocked a lap of 189.960 mph in the Team Penske No. 2 Ford. He will start first in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 (2:15 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM), the fifth race in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. "The track is changing," Keselowski said. "Today it's a lot cooler than it's supposed to be tomorrow. We know the grooves and all of that is going to change, so we have some speed but we have to keep working on it because you're gonna see comers and goers as the track changes and we don't want to be a goer. We want to be one of those guys that comes to the front and stays in the front, so we've got to keep working." Matt Kenseth , who sits in the Chase basement after a trouble-filled race last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway , turned the second-fastest lap at 189.215 mph in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota. Joey Logano , the defending race winner at Kansas and last week's winner at Charlotte, was third-best at 189.062 mph in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. A pair of part-time Sprint Cup drivers closed out the top five in the 55-minute session. Ryan Blaney was fourth-fastest (188.910 mph) in the Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford. Brian Scott recovered from a mid-practice spin on pit road entry to post the fifth-best lap at 188.897 mph. Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick was ninth-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet. Practice positions for the rest of the title-eligible Chase drivers: Martin Truex Jr . (sixth), Denny Hamlin (eighth), Ryan Newman (10th), Kurt Busch (16th), Dale Earnhardt Jr . (17th), Kyle Busch (20th), Carl Edwards (22nd) and Jeff Gordon (28th). Hamlin was the fastest in the 10-lap average category in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota. He was followed by Harvick, Jimmie Johnson , Kurt Busch and Blaney in the top five. Keselowski was best in terms of five-lap average speed, followed by Hamlin, Logano, Kenseth and Johnson in that category.
Keselowski leads opening practice at Kansas
RELATED: Full opening practice results Brad Keselowski led opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Kansas Speedway on Friday afternoon, topping the leaderboard at 194.349 mph. The Team Penske driver reached his high speed on Lap 7 out of his nine laps around the 1.5-mile tri-oval. He was one of three Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers in the top five. Coming up just short to the 2012 Sprint Cup Series champ was Richard Childress Racing 's Austin Dillon (194.224 mph). Joe Gibbs Racing 's Matt Kenseth, (194.147 mph), Richard Childress Racing 's Ryan Newman (193.694 mph) and XFINITY Series regular Brian Scott (193.653 mph), in the No. 33 Chevrolet, rounded out the fastest five drivers in practice. Defending race winner Joey Logano was 18th-fastest (192.747 mph), and this season's spring winner Jimmie Johnson was seventh-fastest (193.195 mph). Kevin Harvick was the slowest Chase driver in the session, coming in as 27th-fastest (191.605 mph). Harvick has one win at Kansas (2013) and has started on the pole three times there. The Sprint Cup Series returns to the track Friday evening at 6:15 p.m. ET for Coors Light Pole Qualifying (NBCSN/Live Extra).
Wood Bros. return to full time opens up new doors
RELATED: Complete driver roster for 2016 The folks at Wood Brothers Racing are busy getting ready for this month's Daytona 500 , the season-opening race for NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. That is not unusual. The legendary team has prepared for the series' biggest, most well known race ever since there was a Daytona 500 . This year is No. 58 for the event billed as the "Great American Race." Actually, the family-owned organization's Daytona history runs a bit deeper -- team founder and patriarch Glen Wood competed on the beach and road course before the 2.5-mile superspeedway rose up a few miles inland. What's unusual is what will follow. Because after Daytona will be Atlanta. And Las Vegas. And Phoenix and Auto Club. Martinsville and Texas and Bristol. And on and on and on. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule whips across the country, and this year, for the first time since 2008, the Wood Brothers and their familiar red-and-white No. 21 Ford will be there every step of the way. "I'm looking forward to going back to some of the tracks we haven't been to for a while like Atlanta, Martinsville -- I really love road courses and things like that, places that present an opportunity that's a little different, even like a Pocono," Len Wood, who along with brother Eddie oversee the operation of the team today. "Anything can happen at a Pocono or a road course, so that's what I'm looking for." The team has 98 victories, but only one since cutting back to a limited schedule. Granted, it was a big one -- the 2011 Daytona 500 with driver Trevor Bayne . Last year, Ryan Blaney made 16 starts for team, finishing with top 10s at Talladega in the spring (fourth) and Kansas in the fall (seventh). He scored a pair of XFINITY Series wins (Iowa-2, Kentucky-2) while driving for Team Penske and a Camping World Truck Series victory (at Bristol) for owner/driver Brad Keselowski . MORE: Blaney clarifies height conspiracy His Sprint Cup schedule may have been limited, but the knowledge gained was not. "It's good to get experience, it's good to work with the whole team on these Cup cars and be able to race around the competition," Blaney, 22, said. "Just racing around your other competitors is one of the biggest battles -- knowing how they race and just learning from them. "That's something I've been able to do in the Truck Series and the XFINITY Series. But the Cup side is way different. The cars are way different, they handle way different, there are different things you can do. "It was definitely a learning year, a good year to get us prepared for this full-time season." RELATED: Who is the favorite for Sunoco Rookie honors? Blaney, along with Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports), Chris Buescher (Front Row Motorsports), Brian Scott (Richard Petty Motorsports) and Jeffrey Earnhardt (Go FAS Racing) make up this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year class. All have multiple Sprint Cup Series starts, from Earnhardt's two to Blaney's 18. The Wood Brothers team will continue its technical alliance with Team Penske, likewise a Ford organization and one that fields Sprint Cup teams for Keselowski , the 2012 series champion, and teammate Joey Logano . Crew chief Jeremy Bullins is a former Penske crew chief, having helped lead all three drivers to Victory Lane in the XFINITY Series. Bullins also has ties to the Wood Brothers -- he began his career working with the group when the team shop was still based in tiny Stuart, Virginia. "For me personally, it's a big deal to be on this car, for this car to be successful," Bullins said. How successful the team can be as it transitions back to full-time status, Bullins said, "is up to us." "When you look at Ryan and his ability, the equipment that we have and the resources we have, really it's up to us and how far we take it," he said. "Obviously the goal, the reason we are here, is to try to win races and try to win championships eventually. "When you start your first year in the Cup series, you don't anticipate that but it's up to us how far we take it. The potential is there, for sure."
Keselowski Proves 'He's Got Game' during visit to Texas Motor Speedway
On Sunday afternoon, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship contender Brad Keselowski played a game of cat-and-mouse with his competitors en route to his dramatic overtime win at Talladega Superspeedway that secured an automatic berth in the upcoming Eliminator 8 Round.
Keselowski wins Coors Light Pole Award at Dover
Second pole, eighth front-row start of 2014 for Keselowski