Keselowski will go for three at
Quaker State 400 in July
Some voice concerns over repaving of Speedway track
(July 2016) – “I’m very pumped about this win today,” Brad Keselowski said of winning the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Kentucky Speedway. The victory was the 33rd of Keselowski’s XFinity Series career and extended his streak of victories at Kentucky Speedway to five consecutive seasons.
On his return to the Kentucky Speedway in July, Keselowski and fellow racers will run on a newly repaved track when the green flag drops at Sparta. Keselowski will race in the LiftMaster Pole Day and NASCAR XFINITY Series 300 Race on Friday, July 8.
Kentucky Speedway Photo
Brad Keselowski (right) poses for photos during a Victory Tour on May 31 at Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati. He is the 2012 NSCS Champion and two-time Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts winner.
The track has a reputation as a notoriously bumpy racing surface. A new track configuration has the banking in Turns 1 and 2 going from 14 to17 degrees. The banking in Turns 3 and 4 remain unchanged at 14 degrees.
During a Kentucky speedway promotional event held in June at Horseshow Casino in Cincinnati, Keselowski said that when he heard about the repaving of the track, “I was pretty sad. A racetrack is somewhat like a human in that, it doesn’t get younger. It doesn’t last forever. But, it’s like I lost a friend.”
He and Kyle Busch have each won two of the five Sprint Cup races held at the Speedway. “Certainly, when you get a hold of a track, you have a lot of confidence, and you feel good about it, you don’t want it to change,” Keselowski told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “But that’s part of the challenge of being a race car driver.”
Last year’s victory was his first XFINITY Series tour win of the season last year as fans watched him bounce back after seeing a lead slip away on a restart with 31 laps to go at the track in Sparta, Ky. In the end, a lapped car slowed Erik Jones long enough to allow Keselowski to pass the 19-year-old and take the lead spot and earn yet another victory at Kentucky Speedway.
Before the June 12 race, he placed third in the Axalta We Paint Winners 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 6, landing him in third place on the leader board.
The Rochester Hills, Mich., native led the final nine laps of the Kentucky 300 and returned to victory lane for the third time in the XFINITY Series competition and fifth time overall at the 1.5-mile track. The 0.241 of a second difference between the two cars at the end represented the second closest XFINITY Series finish at Kentucky Speedway.
At one point Jones surged past Keselowski for the lead on the restart and pulled out to a comfortable lead. Keselowski methodically closed the gap and pulled off the decisive pass at the end of Lap 192, as Jones got caught behind the lapped car driven by David Starr.
Keselowski, 32, drove his No. 22 Team Penske Ford to victory to collect the Crosley Brands jukebox that served as the winner’s trophy.
Having grown up in a racing family, Keselowski began his NASCAR career in 2004 as the driver of the No. 29 Ford F-150 for the family-owned K-Automotive Motorsports in the Craftsman Truck Series. He now competes full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, driving the No. 2 Ford Fusion for Team Penske, and part-time in the XFINITY Series, driving the No. 22 Ford Mustang for Team Penske.
To his credit, Keselowski is one of four drivers who have won a championship in both the Sprint Cup Series and the Xfinity Series, and the only one to win both in the same weekend. He became the 25th driver to win a race in each of NASCAR’s three national series in 2014.
Of the 2015 NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Kentucky Speedway, his crew chief, Greg Erwin, said, “I found myself being a bit of a race fan there at the end, watching two really good guys going at it with obviously very fast race cars. I felt the fans got their money’s worth.”
Teams had only one opportunity to practice before the race due to wet weather. Because qualifying was washed out on Friday, the starting lineup was set according to practice speeds.
For the 2016 Xfinity Series, Keselwoski has had five starts, but no wins. On April 23 he raced in the ToyotaCare250 at Richmond International Raceway, starting eighth and finishing in ninth place.
Keselowski owns Brad Keselowski Racing, which fields two full-time teams in the Camping World Truck Series. So far he has had a strong 2016 season, placing fifth in the Coco-Cola 600 at Charlotte, with wins at the Kolbalt 400 in Las Vegas and the GEICO 500 on May 1 at Talladega Superspeedway.
More recently, Keselowski drove the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford in the Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 12. He started in the 15th position and ended in fourth place.
He entered the race ranked third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings with 442 points for the 2016 season. He is 23 points behind Kurt Busch for second. Keselowski gained three positions in the standings after the last race.
During the race in Michigan, Keselowski was criticized by driver-turned-commentator Jeff Gordon, who accused Keselwoski’s team of deliberately bending the rules in wrongly bending his car’s body to generate a little more speed
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