REDUCTION: On Tuesday afternoon Penske Racing had its penalties from the race at Texas Motor Speedway heard by NASCAR Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook, who reduced the suspensions for crew chief Paul Wolfe, car chief Jerry Kelley, lead engineer Brian Wilson and competition director Travis Geisler from seven races to three. The group will begin serving their suspensions this weekend at Darlington.
LADY IN BLACK HAS BEEN KIND: Keselowski is known as one of the toughest competitors in the Cup Series. Yet he has been able to play nice with the “Lady in Black.” Statistically one of his best tracks, Keselowski has never finished outside the top 15 in his four starts at the unique oval. He has an average finishing position of 9.3 at Darlington.
CAREER TURNING POINT: In May of 2011, Keselowski entered the Southern 500 with only two top-10 Cup Series finishes in his Penske Racing career. His third-place finish at Darlington that weekend seemed to set in motion a rapid rise to championship contention. A few weeks later, Keselowski won the pole for the Coca-Cola 600. He followed that up the very next week with his first Penske Racing Cup Series win at Kansas Speedway. The rest, as they say, is history, capped off by the 2012 Cup Series title.
MOTHER’S DAY: Keselowski’s mother, Kay, will be in attendance this weekend, along with many other mothers of the drivers and teams in the field.
WIND TUNNEL HOST: Keselowski will co-host “Wind Tunnel” with Dave Despain on Sunday night at 8 pm on SPEED.
WHAT WOULD A WIN AT DARLINGTON MEAN TO YOU? “To me, the Southern 500 is one of the crown jewel races on our schedule. I think it’s right there below the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 and the Coca-Cola 600, as far as prestige. Very few racetracks can match the history and significance of Darlington Raceway. I love the tracks that demand a lot out of you as a driver, and Darlington certainly fits that bill. Even though I haven’t won there yet, I have to believe that it’s an amazing feeling because if you win at Darlington you know that you have not only beaten 42 of the best drivers in the world, you’ve beaten one of the toughest circuits in the world too.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE REDUCTION OF THE TEAM’S SUSPENSIONS? “From the beginning we felt that the penalties were a little harsh so I’m glad that John Middlebrook saw it the same way. We were hoping for the best but we are happy with the outcome. Now we are going to test the depth of our Miller Lite Ford team. Improving the depth was something that I was really big on when I came here in 2009. We are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were then. Our focus now is on getting back to racing and winning.”