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Brad Keselowski In a New Role

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The only guy dressed in jeans and a trendy button-down shirt, Brad Keselowski stood out among his impeccably-suited fellow NASCAR top-12 drivers as they posed on stage during an awards luncheon at the grand Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas last week.

With a major shake-up on his Penske Racing team this week, Keselowski is standing out and standing tall — ready or not — to assume the leadership position with the legendary organization only one full season into his Sprint Cup career.

The announcement this week that Penske Racing and Keselowski’s veteran teammate, 2004 Cup champ Kurt Busch, are parting ways immediately puts the 27-year-old Keselowski on center stage. And judging by his effort on the track and his evolving persona away from it, he’s ready.

Keselowski won three races — including two with a broken ankle — and finished fifth in the Sprint Cup championship in his first full year of competition driving Roger Penske’s famed No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. His candor and humor on the social network Twitter has garnered a large following from fans and even a secret fine from NASCAR, which practically makes him a bona fide star these days.

“I’m having fun,’’ Keselowski said while taking his seat at the luncheon last week, dismissing the smirks and head-shakes from his fellow competitors over his casual clothing choice. Tech-savvy, fan- and media-friendly, and wildly talented, Keselowski is exactly the kind of driver fitted for NASCAR’s new generation and, just perhaps, the guy to land Penske its first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship among 12 IndyCar crowns. Keselowski’s 2010 Nationwide Series championship was Penske’s first NASCAR title. And the fact that he has already established himself among NASCAR’s elite talents will serve him well, as will his ability to prove himself a capable leader on the team. His Twitter adventures serve as good examples of that. He was handed a $25,000 “secret fine” by NASCAR for criticizing — via Twitter — the electronic fuel injection that will be introduced next year.

But when asked about his opinions by Twitter, later conceded, “I think you can continue to have the same candor and continue to be authentic, but . . . you can use a little discretion, absolutely.’’ This week he showed the kind of discretion and professionalism more aptly associated with the Penske organization — traits that ultimately cost Busch his job.

 

“Kurt has been a great teammate and friend to me over the last 2 seasons. I truly do wish him the best, wherever and whatever he does,’’ Keselowski posted on his Twitter account Monday.

 

Brad Keselowski takes us on a tour of of his hometown.

Date 8/16/11, Duration 9:06, Views 7267

And just like that, Keselowski is about to have the blessing and the challenge of leading one of the most respected teams in auto racing history. He is “the guy.”

One with a strong season under his belt as he prepares for that new role. “I don’t think anyone really expected that (fifth-place championship finish) out of us, but I never stopped believing that we could be a contender and have a lot of fun and do well as a team,’’ Keselowski said after the Homestead-Miami season finale.

 

 

“I think we have a lot to build off of.’’

Source: Fox Sports

 

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General

Tis’ The Season To Drive Safe

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Winter is officially in full swing across most of the country. Tis’ the season to be merry…and cautious on the roads. This season most of us encounter certain challenges and dangers, like slippery iced roads, minimal visibility and freezing temperatures.

Be prepared, keep the proper knowledge in mind and enjoy the holiday season.

Remove all ice and snow from your vehicle. This can easily obscure your visibility. To be safe, brush off the front and rear windows, side mirrors and windows and taillights too.
Ask yourself if you have the appropriate winter tires. Worn tires can be extremely dangerous in snow, slush and ice. Ensure that your tires appropriate for the conditions at any Penske Automotive service department. For snowy conditions, studded snow tires or tire chains could be a great solution to consider.
Relax, take it easy and drive cautiously. Avoid sudden starts or stops – starting in second gear can be helpful to prevent spinning tires. Drive slowly and designate the proper amount of space than you normally for breaking…there is nothing wrong with driving slow in extreme weather conditions, speed limits are set for standard and clear weather conditions.
If you sense your car is going to slide, slide properly…it happens. If the front end starts to ‘plow’ off course, gently let off the accelerator and steer your vehicle into an open direction. If the rear end slides out, or ‘fishtails’, gently let off the accelerator and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide – and be ready to turn the steering wheel back in the other direction once you’ve gained control of your car.
These tips will help you stay safe during the winter. If you are not certain that your car is prepared for the winter, direct your questions to any Penske Automotive service department so that we can our clients are well equipped with the appropriate tires and winter.
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General

Penske Racing extends Brad Keselowski’s contract

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One of the most successful combinations in NASCAR will continue for years to come at Penske Racing as the organization announced today that both driver Brad Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe have agreed to multi-year contract extensions.

Keselowski and Wolfe will continue to lead the No. 2 team as it pursues the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in 2012 and beyond.

“It’s great to know that Paul and I will continue to work together to bring wins and championships to Penske Racing and its sponsors,” said Keselowski, the native of Rochester Hills, Mich., who first joined Penske Racing for the final three races of the 2009 season.

“We’ve definitely built something special here with this team and we’ll continue to get better to reach our goals. I’m already fired up about 2012 and the future with the ‘Blue Deuce.’”

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General

2012 Hyundai Azera

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The 2012 Hyundai Azera debuts last month at the LA Auto Show. Watch the video to get a glimpse of the Hyundai Azera’s features.Hyundai released a teaser preview last month, which showed off highlights of the Azera, including the following features: HID headlights with LED accents, chrome-tipped dual exhaust, LED taillights, a 7-in touchscreen for navigation, and a panoramic sunroof. The video also highlights the fluidic sculpture design, which permeates Hyundai’s styling.

The Azera has a spacious interior with leather seating. Under the hood, it comes with a 3.3L V6 engine with 293-hp and 255 lb.-ft. of torque. It has a six speed automatic transmission and gets 20mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway and 23mpg combined. Standard features include 18-inch wheels and nine airbags. The Azera is expected to start at $32,000, although no official announcement has been made.

This is the Azera’s first unveiling in America. It has previously appeared around the world as the Grandeur. Apparently the designers took inspiration from flight elements when designing the front grill and headlights, which have a streamlined, wing-like look. On the inside, the Azera comes with SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity.

The LA Auto Show was November 18th to November 27th, right through Thanksgiving, but held two press days November 16 and 17. When the LA Auto Show first started in 1907, it showed off 99 vehicles at Morley’s Skating Rink.

Source: Automobile Mag

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General

World’s First Snowboarding Concept Car

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Calling all snowboarders: here is the car for you! Just in time for the winter season, 686 has designed the world’s first snowboarding concept car. Taking inspiration from various snowboarding equipment, the car is waterproof and meets every need that a snowboarder might have.

The vehicle is a 686/Scion Numeric and is a collaboration project between 686, Scion, Spin Imaging, and twenty other brands. 686 developed the car to celebrate their twentieth anniversary. The Numeric is also part of the SEMA Tuner Challenge. 686 started with the xB model and developed it with the goal to “create a winter story around snowboarding,” according to Mike West, Creative Director at 686.

Beginning with the unique exterior, you can immediately see how the car draws from the snowboarding experience. The exterior is made of handcrafted, hand-stitched waterproofed material, similar to what a snowboarder would wear. The roof is made of carbon fiber composite materials and designed to mimic the Bern helmet. Inspired by Dragon’s APX frameless goggles, the windshield is also frameless and provides a full peripheral view inside the car.

If the outside has the look, the inside meets the needs. The interior has racks for snowboarders, to keep them from rattling around in the trunk, and two large speakers that resemble Aviator headphones from SkullCandy. Drivers and passengers can relax in Union Binding bucket seats.

With the Numeric, 686 wanted to go all the way, and anyone can see that they did. According to Mike West, the goal wasn’t just to paint the car and add snow tires. They wanted to create a winter story around the car, and took painstaking attention to detail. Their collaboration with twenty brands certainly allowed them to do so.

The Numeric first debuted on October 26, at the 2011 Scion SEMA Media Preview at Kim Sing Theater in Los Angeles. As a concept car, it isn’t street legal, and there won’t be any others made, but it is pretty cool to look at.

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onda Manufacturing of Alabama Celebrates

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Have you ever wondered where your Honda came from? Honda has a number of manufacturing facilities across the country that all specialize in particular areas. This week, one facility in particular has something to celebrate.

This month marked the tenth anniversary of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (HMA). On November 14, 2001, the Alabama manufacturing facility began production on the Odyssey minivan.

Located in Lincoln, Alabama, the facility is responsible for the global production of Odyssey minivans, Pilot sport utility vehicles and Ridgeline pick-up trucks, plus V-6 engines. The plant has an annual production capacity for 300,000 vehicles and V-6 engines, and is the largest Honda light truck production source in the world. HMA performs a number of operations, including stamping, welding, painting, casting, assembly and sub-assembly, testing, quality assurance, and more.

Honda recently announced that it would be investing an additional $84 million to the Alabama facility. The funding will help increase production by another 40,000 vehicles and provide 100 new jobs. The Alabama facility already employs over 4,000 associates, and a recent addition provided a new Honda Engineering facility, on-site consolidation center and steel blanking operation.

Like Honda Motors, the Alabama facility is a leader in environmental innovation and stewardship and has dedicated a company-wide commitment to maintaining the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. HMA was actually the first Honda facility to introduce a zero-waste-to-landfill commitment when it first opened in 2001. Today, HMA is one of ten Honda Zero Landfill Facilities, and the other four facilities are “virtually zero” waste to landfill. HMA has also received Energy Star wards from the EPA based on the facility’s advances in reducing energy usage in the production process.

HMA has established itself as an environmental leader and has seen much success in the past decade. Hopefully we will see the same success and leadership in the decade to come.

Source: Honda Alabama

 

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Toyota Prius c Will Debut at North American International Auto Show

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Next spring, the Prius c will join the Prius Family line up. The highly anticipated vehicle will be unveiled in January, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The subcompact hybrid will be joining the third-generation Prius Liftback hybrid, Prius v midsize hybrid, and Prius Plug-in Hybrid, and will help round out the Prius family by adding a more affordable option for younger drivers, particularly those who live in the city. Toyota will market the Prius c towards younger shoppers and focus on its fuel efficiency, technology and driving dynamics.

As a member of the Prius family, it would naturally be expected that the Prius c would be fuel efficient, but the subcompact is expected to surpass even those standards. With an expected fuel economy of 50 mpg, the Prius c will be a leader in its class and have the highest mpg of any non-plug-in vehicle. On top of that, the Prius c will be offered at a more affordable price.

Because its aimed towards younger drivers in urban settings, the Prius c will be a little sportier than other Prius models, making it a bit more fun to drive. Standard features on the Prius c are Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, steering-wheel audio, climate and telephone controls, and nine airbags.

Another feature is Toyota’s new multimedia system Entune, which is already available on the Camry, Prius v and Tacoma, and allows users to connect to apps that provide navigation, entertainment and information all from the vehicle’s console. Drivers can stream music, use voice recognition technology and utilize Entune’s text-to-speech capabilities.

The Prius c was first introduced at the North American International Auto show as a concept car, so it will be a fitting arena to unveil the production model next January. The c stands for “city-centric,” representing the Prius c’s target market. The subcompact Prius will use a 1.5L DOHC four-cylinder engine, and is about the size of the Yaris.

Source: Toyota Press Room

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What is Honda Performance Development?

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Honda Performance Development (HPD) is Honda’s racing design and development company, responsible for supplying engines to the IndyCar series, American Le Mans Series and European Lea Mans series. They specialize in designing engines, parts, and chassis for racing vehicles of all types, from race cars to go-karts. The company is now also offering parts to grassroots racing programs. According to Lee Niffenegger, Senior Engineer at HPD, “anything that Honda builds, we try to race.”

Members of HPD’s Honda Racing Line program can get technical support from engineers at HPD and can buy OE parts and HPD parts developed specifically for racing. Honda Racing Line members can be entry level or professional racers.

A key component to HPD is their ethos. HPD strives for constant innovation and reflects Soichiro Honda’s belief that competition is essential for fueling innovation and improvement. According to the HPD website, “While second place can be painful, reflection on such failure can lead to the next success.” Such forward thinking can thus take a failure and turn it into a success by highlighting what went wrong and how to fix it.

Since 1993, such an ethos has helped HPD earn wins at manufacturer and driver championships. With Honda engines, many drivers have won over the years, but have seen particular success within the past ten years. In 2004, Honda’s aspirated V-8 engine was the dominant motor in the IndyCar series and helped Honda drivers win 14 out of 16 races, including the Indianapolis 500. Last year, HPD won its 100th IndyCar race when Dario Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500.

HPD was established in 1993 and has helped support the IndyCar program with their engines since. The company is based in Santa Clarita, California. HPD recently announced that in 2012, it will be supplying engines to the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team.

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