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Keselowski gets his game on

Brad Gets His Game On

Sports – Brad Keselowski’s New Ride

LAS VEGAS — Less than six hours before being honored as the 2012 Sprint Cup champion Friday, on the biggest night of his young career, Brad Keselowski was in the basement of the Penske Ferrari dealership attached to the Wynn Las Vegas.

He wasn’t choosing one of the sleek, exorbitant cars to purchase with his share of the $5.7 million bonus he got for winning the title.

He wasn’t even checking out the merchandise that includes some of team owner Roger Penske’s prized show cars.

He was playing video games.

Well, sort of.

Keselowski was in the cockpit of a Formula One Ferrari shell that is part of the Shell Professional Simulator Experience. He was tackling The Circuit of Americas course in Austin, Texas, that recently hosted its inaugural Grand Prix event.

He was turning laps of just over 1 minute, 39 seconds, slightly more than three seconds behind the pole time of 1 minute, 35.657 seconds that Sebastian Vettel had on this 20-turn road course.

“I left something out there,” Keselowski said afterward.

This could be the future of all motorsports. Ferrari already uses the simulator to train prospective F1 drivers before they get on the track and educate veteran drivers learning new circuits.

Penske was so impressed with how realistic the machine was, how it was so finely tuned that it simulated every bump, slide and wiggle — everything but g-forces — that he is looking to possibly purchase one for his IndyCar organization and perhaps one for the NASCAR side if it can be adapted to it.

“In talking to Brad, it focuses you mentally, whether it’s a road course or whatever it might be,” Penske said. “I’m really interested in seeing if it is worthwhile for us.”

Tiny beads of sweat were on Keselowski’s forehead after about 20 minutes in the machine, indicating just how realistic it is. The 28-year-old driver was mildly frustrated that he could have turned a faster lap. There was almost the same intensity on his face that he had before the Sprint Cup finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he clinched the championship.

The competitive juices were flowing as Keselowski tried to get everything he could out of the machine, just as though he were qualifying for the Daytona 500.

Penske was equally captivated by the simulator during a social gathering the night before. Like Keselowski, he almost had to be dragged from it.

“I wanted to get more time in it, but I was so damned bad at it that I put somebody else in it,” Penske said. “But I sure want to get back in when nobody is watching to see if I could get better.”

He may have that chance on Dec. 14 when the simulator is transported to Penske Racing in Mooresville, N.C., for the team Christmas party. It’s such a big event that Anton Stipinovich, who heads the company All In Sports, which developed the machine, is expected to make the trip from Modena, Italy.

Only two other machines are exactly like this in the world. One is owned by the Ferrari Driver Academy in Italy, and the other is in the home of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.

They’re not cheap. They run about a half-million dollars, well more than Keselowski will pay for the tank he really does plan to buy with his share of the championship profit.

But if you’re a car owner — or a driver like Alonso with money to spare — this is an investment in the future. That’s particularly true in F1, in which testing is limited.

“The use of simulation testing is completely unlimited, which is why they have become so important to teams and sponsors [in F1],” said Anthony Dealtry, the senior account executive for Crunch Communications, which travels with this machine.

The simulator is designed to be as realistic as possible, down to the car getting faster as the tires and brakes get hot. Dealtry doesn’t see why it can’t be adapted to IndyCar and even NASCAR, although the value in stock cars wouldn’t be as great because so many tracks are ovals compared to road courses, where you need more time learning the turns.

And while people like me can have fun in them, these aren’t toys. The hand-eye coordination and the ability to multitask between changing gears and other telemetry while keeping up with the track separate the amateurs from the professionals in a hurry.

Keselowski showed quickly the skills that helped him become NASCAR’s newest champion. After an initial lap of 1 minute, 55 seconds, he was down to 1 minute, 41 seconds.

If it weren’t for the banquet, he probably would have stayed in the machine until he broke 1 minute, 36 seconds.

“I know there’s a 135 out there,” he said.

Dealtry was impressed, but a minute and 35 seconds?

“I’m not so sure about that,” he said. “But I like his optimism.”

The simulator is addictive. Keselowski was so hooked that he called a Penske official at 11 p.m. on Thursday and asked if he could open the shop for him and a few other drivers.

It didn’t happen, but he was back the next morning immediately after a dress rehearsal for the banquet.

“What was so impressive about Brad was his ability to spot the right line around the track to make sure he was picking up time,” Dealtry said.

I didn’t perform nearly as well, finding the right line into the wall more than once. Whether it was adjusting to the left-foot brake pedal that was stiffer than a 2-by-4, my inability to watch the track and the light that tells you when to change the flappy-paddle gearbox, or just pure lack of talent, I was a wreck waiting to happen.

But I know my spot in the world is behind a keyboard, just as Keselowski knows his spot is behind the wheel.

Someday, Keselowski admittedly would like to give an open-wheel car a spin for real. But Penske isn’t ready to offer him a ride in the Indianapolis 500 like he did to Tony Stewart.

That offer, by the way, was almost like an empty promise, since Stewart has made it clear he has no desire to do another double — Indy and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day — and the timing of the two events makes it almost impossible to do.

“I’m not sure I’d make the recommendation today,” Penske said of putting Keselowski in an Indy or F1 car. “He has some [goals] left in NASCAR before he gets to … open wheel.”

Or, as Keselowski said, you won’t see him in an F1 car as “long as my Cup team keeps running this awesome.”

But at least for a few days in Vegas, he could pretend.

[Source: ESPN.Go.com]

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General

In 2013, Hitachi will sponsor Castroneves in nine races

Helio-Castroneves-Hitachi

Hitachi will serve as the primary sponsor for nine races – including two doubleheader race weekends – of the Chevrolet-powered No. 3 Team Penske car driven by three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves during the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

“Hitachi is a world-class company that proved to be a terrific partner for us this past season,” team owner Roger Penske said. “With the technical support Hitachi provides to Chevrolet in its IndyCar engine program, this relationship represents a winning formula on many levels.”

Hitachi will be the primary sponsor for the season-opening race at St. Petersburg, Fla. (March 24), plus Sao Paulo, Brazil; Detroit (two races); Iowa Speedway, Pocono Raceway; Toronto (two races) and Sonoma, Calif.

“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to drive the Hitachi Team Penske car next season,” said Castroneves, who will look to add to his 27 career Indy car victories. “We will race in the Hitachi colors at some great events in 2013, including my hometown race in Brazil, and it will be awesome to have them on board with the team.”

Hitachi joined Team Penske for the 2012 season and was the primary sponsor on the No. 2 for several races, including its first victory in the sport with Ryan Briscoe at Sonoma.

“We’re very excited to be back with Team Penske in 2013 and we look forward to working with Helio and the No. 3 car team,” said Rob Sharpe, Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, Inc., Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “This valued partnership provides the Hitachi Group with the opportunity to grow our brand globally with a well-respected team built on a tradition of winning and excellence. It also creates great business-to-business and customer networking opportunities at some of the world’s premiere racing venues.”

Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo. The company is engaged in the development, manufacture, sales and services of automotive components, transportation-related components, industrial machines and systems. It also offers a wide range of automotive systems, including engine management systems, electric power train systems, drive control systems and car information systems.

(Source: Autoweek.com)

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General

Penske Material: Social media star Brad Keselowski wins NASCAR championship for Roger Penske

Penske Material- Social media star Brad Keselowski wins NASCAR championship for Roger Penske

Brad Keselowski didn’t dare take his phone in his car before the biggest race of his life. NASCAR’s social media champion handed it over before pulling on his helmet and chasing the Sprint Cup title he promised to deliver to Roger Penske.

But when Sunday’s race ended, Keselowski crossing the finish line at Homestead-Miami Speedway as the champion, he didn’t even consider getting out of his car to celebrate before getting that phone back.

Keselowski, the kid you first heard about when he tweeted from inside his car during the season-opening Daytona 500, opened his championship reign by tweeting from inside his car: “We did it,” he posted with a picture.

He did it with Penske, forming NASCAR’s oddest couple to capture its biggest prize.

Keselowski brought Penske his first Sprint Cup championship 40 years after his first stock car race, beating five-time champion Jimmie Johnson of mighty Hendrick Motorsports while delivering the crown that fills a glaring hole on Penske’s otherwise sterling racing resume.

Penske is considered the gold standard of open-wheel racing — he has 15 Indianapolis 500 wins — and his empire makes him one of the most successful businessmen in America. But until Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his NASCAR program was never more than average.

“Personally, I feel amazing that I’ve been able to achieve this in racing,” Penske said. “I think it took guts for me to stay in the sport. We could have thought, ‘Well, we won the Indy 500 15 times and we’re a big deal.’ But I’ll tell you one thing … I think I just woke up here tonight, and it’s a big thrill.”

As always, Penske credited the entire program.

But the program really turned behind Keselowski, a blue collar, Michigan native, who chugged sponsor Miller Lite’s product, donned goggles to douse the Blue Deuce crew with champagne, and imagined how his life will change as NASCAR’s champion. At 28, he’s the eighth youngest champion in NASCAR history and proud he doesn’t have a date for the Nov. 30 champions banquet in Las Vegas.

“I’ve always wanted to date a celebrity,” said Keselowski, “I’m just throwing that out there. That would be really cool, don’t you think?”

Penske could only shake his head in bewilderment.

“Maybe I am conservative, but I like to have a little fun, too,” Penske said. “And I think when you’ve won the NASCAR championship, the driver, you can kind of give him a little wider path, and he’s certainly taken it side to side. I think it’s all good.”

Keselowski might not have seemed like Penske material three years ago, but he’s a cornerstone now.

He was a developmental driver for Hendrick Motorsports in 2008 when he went to see Penske, determined that he could be the driver to bring “The Captain” a coveted Cup championship. He wiggled free from his contract a year later, and had a second-tier Nationwide championship — and a closet full of starched white Penske shirts — to show for his convictions.

Now, three years into the plan, he and Penske have that Cup championship and a connection no one saw coming.

(Source: WashingPost.com)

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General

Brad Keselowski has won his first NASCAR championship at Homestead

Brad Wins Sprint Cup

Brad Keselowski has won his first NASCAR championship.

The 28-year-old Detroit native clinched the Sprint Cup title Sunday when fellow title contender Jimmie Johnson pulled out of the season finale because of a parts failure. The championship is the first for longtime NASCAR owner Roger Penske and gives outgoing car manufacturer Dodge the sweetest of parting gifts.

All Keselowski had to do was stay out of trouble over the final 60 miles, which essentially turned out to be 40 victory laps around Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Keselowski says over his radio, “If he’s in the garage, let’s race.”

It is Dodge’s first Cup championship since Richard Petty’s title in 1975. And it surely will help Penske get over a heartbreaking second-place finish in the IndyCar championship in September.

(Source: Washingtonpost.com)

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General

Keselowski takes points lead in Phoenix

brad

Kevin Harvick won the AdvoCare 500 and Brad Keselowski grabbed the points lead in the Chase for the Spint Cup Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.

Harvick held off Kyle Busch to end a 44-race winless streak in Sprint Cup action at the wild Phoenix event, which featured a multi-car accident in the final laps that triggered a brawl between the crews of drivers Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer.

Keselowski, however, avoided the incident and crossed the finish line to take sixth place and establish a lead over Jimmie Johnson, who came into Sunday with a seven-point advantage in the championship Chase standings.

Johnson was involved in another wreck in which he hit the wall on lap 234, sustaining suspension damage that took 38 laps to repair. He ended in 32nd place.

Fights between the Gordon and Bowyer crews broke out on pit road after the two drivers collided late in the race.

(Source: UPI.com)

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General

Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski wins in Joliet, claims top spot in Sprint Cup Championship standings for Roger Penske!

penske

Penske, the iconic IndyCar owner who has yet to win a NASCAR championship, watched Penske Racing driver Will Power lose the IndyCar title to Ryan Hunter-Reay at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on Saturday night. Power blew a 17-point lead in the standings when he wrecked, enabling Hunter-Reay to win the title.

But Penske knows how important the Chase is, and his spirits lifted when Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski beat Jimmie Johnson by three seconds. The victory puts Keselowski in the points lead by three over Johnson and eight over defending Cup champion Tony Stewart.

Chase driver Kasey Kahne finished third, Kyle Busch was fourth and Ryan Newman fifth. Stewart was sixth.

Keselowski led 76 laps, but Johnson started on the pole and led a whopping 172. It was almost reminiscent of Johnson’s victory in July at the Brickyard 400, where he led nearly the whole race.

But Keselowski figured Johnson out and kept the five-time champion winless in the Cup series at Chicagoland.

(Source: Suntimes.com)

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General

Penske and Nikon Announce Partnership

Nikon_Penske Racing

BRIGHTON, Mich. – Nikon Metrology, Inc. and Penske Racing today jointly announced a multi-year partnership agreement that makes Nikon Metrology the Official Supplier of Dimensional Metrology Products and Services to Penske Racing.

Penske Racing, known as the “New York Yankees of motorsports” with over 23 national championships, including 12 in Indy Car racing, is the standard for excellence in motorsports.

In its efforts to achieve continuous improvement, Penske Racing wanted to further enhance its advanced technology and manufacturing methods and the organization followed that to the conclusion of the need for a premier Metrology provider. That search led to Nikon Metrology.

“When Penske Racing approached us, we recognized immediately the fit between two leaders in their respective fields,” said Hajime Kosawa, managing director of Nikon Metrology, Inc. “Our North American Technology Center in Brighton, Mich., has extensive experience working with automotive companies, and this is a very logical extension, combining our experience and products with Penske Racing’s leadership in motorsports and its quest for continuous improvement and realized results.”

Nikon Metrology is one of the largest global providers of metrology products and value-added services, with one of the widest range of products.

“To have Nikon Metrology team with us helps Penske Racing continue its winning ways and further extend our footprint by expanding the boundaries in ways to improve,” said John Moloney, general manager of Penske Technology Group. “Our commitment to putting forth the most competitive and advanced race cars possible has been improved greatly with Nikon Metrology as a partner.”

(Source: Nationalspeedsportsnews.com)

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General

Joey Logano to Join Penske Racing in 2013

Unknown

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (September 4, 2012) – Penske Racing announced today that Joey Logano will join the team in 2013. He will drive the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Logano, 22, a two-time Sprint Cup Series winner who is currently competing in his fourth full season, will begin a multi-year agreement with Penske Racing.

“I am very excited to join Penske Racing and begin the next phase of my career,” said Logano. “I am looking forward to the opportunity as it will be an honor to drive for Roger Penske and race for wins and championships. I am also proud to represent Shell-Pennzoil as they are a respected global brand that does a great job of activating in the sport on and off the track.”

In addition to his pair of victories, four poles and 16 top-five finishes in his young Cup Series career, Logano has also produced 15 wins and 19 poles in five seasons competing part time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

“Joey Logano is a very talented driver who has already achieved a lot of success at a young age,” said Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing. “Joey is a great fit for our organization and we look forward to building on his success as he takes his place behind the wheel of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford.”

With an impressive track record of winning from an early age, Logano has established himself as one of NASCAR’s fastest rising stars. He started racing quarter midgets at the age of six and won his first championship just one year later. After rising up quickly through the racing ranks, Logano became the youngest winner in Nationwide Series history when he won at Kentucky Speedway at the age of 18 in 2008. Just one year later he won at New Hampshire to become the youngest winner ever in Cup Series competition. Logano went on to be named 2009 Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year, setting the stage for a bright future in the sport.

“We welcome Joey Logano to the Shell-Pennzoil team, and we know he will do a great job representing our brands and Penske Racing in 2013 and beyond,” said Lisa Davis, president, Shell Lubricants Americas. “Joey is clearly a special talent on the race track, and we look forward to working with him off the track as well.”

Logano will join Brad Keselowski, a three-time race winner and championship contender in 2012, and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team to form a potent combination for Penske Racing in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Penske Racing is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Competing in a variety of disciplines, cars owned and prepared by Penske Racing have produced 362 major race wins – including 15 Indianapolis 500 victories – 423 pole positions and 23 National Championships. For more information about Penske Racing, please visit www.penskeracing.com.

[Source: PenskeRacing.com]

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