Believe It Or Not, One NASCAR Driver Tweeted From Inside His Car Just After The Juan Pablo Montoya Crash

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How about this. After the insane Juan Pablo Montoya crash from tonight’s Daytona 500, driver Brad Keselowski sent out a tweet from inside his car, showing his many followers what he saw as the track went up in flames.

Who ever would have thought that today, we would be able to see a track-side view of the Montoya flames, courtesy of a driver? If you’re not following @Keselowski, this is what you’re missing:

The picture in question was of the fiery crash involving Juan Pablo Montoya and a jet drier truck in Turn 3 at Daytona International Speedway. After officials red-flagged the race to clean up the mess, Keselowski tweeted several more photos and began interacting with racing fans on his Twitter account.

Before the crash, the 28-year-old had a little more than 87,000 Twitter followers, but he gained thousands of new followers during the break in action.

“Nobody else has a phone,” Keselowski said when interviewed from pit row. “They should get one to see what is going on.”

“They keep making fun of it, but I’m having a good time. It’s great to talk to the fans.”

Keselowski has been of the leading voices on the social media front for the auto racing series. His NASCAR Camping World Truck Series No. 19 truck featured Twitter handles from 2,600 fans that were selected through a contest on his blog.

After the restart, Keselowski was involved in a multi-car crash on Lap 187 and within a minute of the wreck he tweeted, “Nothing we could do there … Never saw the wreck till we were windshield deep. #daytona500.”

“(I got) a lot (of followers), but I’d take the win first,” Keselowski told FOX television following his release from the care center.

When asked about Keselowski’s tweeting during the red-flag break, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he wasn’t interested in tweeting.

“That’s just how Brad is,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “We did take the phone and put it to use and checked the weather.”

Of course driving safely is very important so please, do not tweet and drive.


Note: Fortunately Brad Keselowski didn’t pull out his phone until his car had stopped. During the Daytona 500’s red flag which came as a result of Juan Pablo Montoya running into a jet dryer that subsequently burst into towering flames, Keselowski began chatting up fans on his Twitter page.

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Penske Racing Readies for Daytona 500 with Preseason Test

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 16, 2012) – Penske Racing recently completed the three-day NASCAR Cup Series Preseason Thunder test at Daytona International Speedway and the results were exciting as the teams prepare for the upcoming 54th running of the Daytona 500.

AJ Allmendinger will make his first start in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Challenger in the 2012 “Great American Race.” His fast lap of 43.965, or 204.708 miles per hour, came in the afternoon session of the second day of the test, and it was the 12th-fastest time recorded during the test. The lap was turned while pushing teammate Brad Keselowski in the two-car tandem draft around the 2.5-mile superspeedway. On that same lap, Keselowski laid down a lap of 43.964 seconds, or 204.722 miles per hour, in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. Keselowski’s lap placed him 11th-fastest overall.

“It was good to get out there and knock some of the rust off from over the holidays, especially with my new team,” said Allmendinger. “The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge definitely had a lot of speed, especially in the two-car draft. I’m expecting a different rules package when we go back next month, but I think Brad and I will have great shots at winning another Daytona 500 for Penske Racing.”

NASCAR tinkered with several rules changes during Preseason Thunder, including various sizes of restrictor plates, grille openings and radiator pressure-relief valves, in an effort to eliminate the two-car draft that has become the norm in restrictor-plate racing over the last few seasons. Officials want to see more pack drafting that used to define the racing at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway.

“It was a great test for the Miller Lite Dodge,” said Keselowski. “AJ and I were able to log a lot of laps today and I feel good about our package for the 500. It’s getting harder to perform the two-car draft so maybe we’ll see some pack racing when we come back. I had a blast running in the pack today.”

NASCAR will continue to adjust the rules package to ensure the Daytona 500 is exciting for both the teams and fans.

“We’ve had a good test and gained a lot of information,” said NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton. “We know that when we come out of here, there will be some loose ends we have to tie up as we get all of our information together and come up with our final plans for Speedweeks. I can say that all in all everything is going according to plan.”

Qualifying for the 54th Daytona 500 will take place on Sunday, February 19, which will determine the front row only. The 41st annual duel races, which set the rest of the field, will be on Thursday, February 23. The Daytona 500 season-opening race will begin at 1 pm on Sunday, February 26.


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Todd Gordon named crew chief for Penske’s No. 22

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Penske Racing’s No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger may still be without a driver for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, following the abrupt dismissal of Kurt Busch on Dec. 5, but the team has at least solidified its crew situation. Penske announced that Todd Gordon has been promoted to the crew chief role for the car. He replaces Steve Addington, who announced he was leaving Penske prior to Busch’s departure. Addington has since signed on with Stewart-Haas Racing as Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart’s new crew chief.

Gordon ran Brad Keselowski’s No. 22 NASCAR Nationwide Series car this year – his first with Penske – and the combo scored six wins and six pole positions.

“Our first priority is always to look within the walls of Penske Racing when making personnel decisions,” said Roger Penske. “We want to reward success. The path we are taking with Todd mirrors what we did with Paul Wolfe who led the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge to a Chase berth in 2011. We think Todd can get the job done in the same manner.”

Gordon joined Penske Racing in January of 2011. He and Keselowski quickly developed a driver-crew chief rapport that resulted in another successful season, helping make the No. 22 Dodge one of the premier entries in NNS competition.

“I can’t thank Roger and everyone at Penske Racing enough for this vote of confidence,” said Gordon. “It’s an honor to step into a race-winning team. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but this is an organization full of talented people who know how to get the job done. I look forward to getting the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge back in Victory Lane.”

The team said that it “continues to evaluate drivers to fill the seat” of the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge.

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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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Victory For Sam Hornish Jr.

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AVONDALE, Ariz. — Sam Hornish Jr. pumped his fist out the window, made a nice grab to catch the checkered flag and circled toward Victory Lane. He pulled up next to the trophy, climbed out of his car and had trouble getting the words out, his voice cracking as tears filled his eyes.

After everything Hornish had been through since switching to NASCAR, this victory four years in the making hit him with a flood of emotion.

One of the most accomplished American open-wheel drivers in history, Hornish took his first NASCAR victory by passing points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and leading the final 61 laps at slippery Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday.

“There were many times where I shook my head and go ‘Why did I do this?'” Hornish said of his switch to NASCAR. “But I did know that I would always regret not trying it, so I’m just really, really excited that we were able to keep it going. It ranks right up there.”

Stenhouse took a big step toward the Nationwide season title when Elliott Sadler was taken out with 25 laps left on a bump from behind by Jason Leffler. The unfortunate incident leaves Stenhouse with a nearly insurmountable 41-point lead over Sadler heading into the season finale at Homestead next weekend.

The potentially series-deciding wreck nearly overshadowed Hornish’s win. Nearly.

A three-time IndyCar Series championship and the 2006 Indianapolis 500, Hornish switched to NASCAR full time in 2008. His road in stock cars has been checkered at best.

Hornish had a pair of top-five finishes in 2009, but not a whole lot of other success. He struggled in 2010 and was relegated to a part-time schedule on the Nationwide Series this season, earning four top-10s, including a season-best fifth at Chicago.

Hornish was plenty familiar with Phoenix.

He won two IndyCar races there, including his first a decade ago, and had made his first Sprint Cup and Nationwide starts at the mile oval. He even announced his intention to leave IndyCar at the track.

Even after PIR was repaved and reconfigured, Hornish was good again in the desert, starting fifth and staying near the front most of the way.

He made a rare pass on the outside on the new surface to overtake Stenhouse on a restart and was well ahead of Brad Keselowski, his Team Penske teammate, as he took the checkers for the first time in 141 career starts between the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series.

Keselowski was second and Carl Edwards third.

“Man, that sure is great,” Keselowski said. “Sam has paid a lot of dues in NASCAR and it’s great to see him get some success out of it.”

Sadler paid some dues of his own, thanks to Leffler.

Running close to Leffler heading into turn 1, he dropped down almost to the apron on the dogleg before shooting back up the track in front of Leffler, who was racing next to polesitter Aric Almirola.

Leffler misjudged Sadler’s speed and bumped him from behind, sending his car careening into the wall. Sadler bounced off backward and took out both Leffler and Almirola, leaving a trail of debris across the track that brought out the red flag.

“I was racing Aric and I just made a mistake. It’s all my fault,” Leffler said. “It certainly wasn’t anything I wanted to do to Elliott and his guys and affect the championship like that.”

Sadler got out of the car and raised his arms at Leffler as he yelled something, then gave a sarcastic clap as he continued talking while walking away. He was still fuming after being checked out at the medical center.

Stenhouse finished fifth and Sadler likely will need him to wreck early at Homestead to have a shot at the title.

“Not much respect for guys running for the championship,” Sadler said. “He just hit us square in the rear and lost it. I don’t understand. He’s not running for anything.”

The first repaving in 20 years at PIR left the track slick and with one good racing line, on the inside. The drivers were wary of racing the undeveloped outside line, where it was extra slippery and anyone out there would have trouble controlling their car to keep up with those on the inside.

Their concerns became reality before the first lap was done, when Reed Sorenson got into the back of Brian Scott in turn 3 and triggered an eight-car wreck.

Danica Patrick was collected in the crash and slammed the back of her car into the wall. She was able to return to the track, but six other cars were knocked out.

The longer the race went, though, the more the outside line seemed to come in.

Hornish made the final pass for the lead from the outside, overtaking Stenhouse when he appeared to spin his wheels on the green flag.

Hornish spun his wheels on the restart with 19 laps left after Sadler’s wreck, but recovered to stay in front of Keselowski and win in his 32nd Nationwide start.

“I won so much over at Indy that I didn’t know how much to appreciate it at the time,” Hornish said.

He certainly appreciated this one.


Source: ESPN Go

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NASCAR: Kurt Busch ready for the battle at Phoenix II

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Busch says Sunday’s Battle is “Big Wild”

Kurt Busch, Penske Racing Dodge

Kurt Busch, Penske Racing Dodge

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger driver Kurt Busch says you might as well consider that this weekend’s Kobalt Tools 500 is being held on “Arizona Motor Speedway” or maybe “Avondale International Raceway.” The 2004 series champion’s point is that the one-mile band of asphalt that the premier stock car series has raced on since 1988 has undergone such an immense change that it’s “totally different from the old Phoenix International Raceway.

“The scenic location, the grandstands and the facilities may remain the same, but this is definitely not your old PIR that everyone had gotten accustomed to,” said Busch, whose record on the old layout boasted one win, four top-five finishes and 10 top-10s in 17 races. “It’s a case of throwing all your old notes and data out the window because it is like racing at a brand new track. All the knowledge you’ve gained and logged before there doesn’t apply at all now.

“It’s just a totally different track,” continued Busch. “After the testing we all did there, we’re coming back convinced there’s only going to be one groove and it won’t be very wide. Restarts will be treacherous. We’ll see how it shakes out. It will be a ‘fill the tank up with gas and ride it to the end’ situation with how the tires did not and likely will not be wearing out there this weekend.

“It’ll be a big wild-card race as far as the big picture is concerned. It’s a huge challenge, but it’s the same situation for everyone out there. I just hope like heck that if there’s a late caution, I am running in an odd-numbered spot and can line up on the inside for the restart. If you’re stuck on the outside there at the end, it could be a huge blow. With every position meaning a point in the standings, it could be very wild at the end of this one on Sunday.”

Immediately after the last visit to PIR for the Feb. 27 Subway Fresh Fit 500, track crews went to work reconfiguring the track where the late Alan Kulwicki claimed the first big league victory on Nov. 6, 1988. After 30 races were held on the old layout, construction workers made tweaks to the track’s banking and a major adjustment to the “dogleg” on the backstretch.

Here are the specifics: Progressive banking has been added to the turns. Turns 1 and 2, which previously had 11 degrees of banking, now have 10 degrees on the bottom and 11 on the top. Turns 3 and 4, which previously had nine degrees of banking, now have eight degrees on the bottom and nine at the top.

The backstretch “dogleg” that was more of a flat “jut” than an actual turn has been transformed into more of a distinct turn with the same 10 to 11 degrees of progressive banking as is in Turns 1 and 2.

“They even widened the frontstretch, too,” said Busch of the straightaway in front of the main grandstand that is now 10 feet wider than was the case with the old layout.

While Busch’s primary focus entering this weekend’s return to the “new PIR” is the immediate challenge that the new layout presents, he is also cognizant of the importance to be competitive during Sunday’s race at Phoenix and the season finale on Nov. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“Even though we won the race at Dover during the Chase, we just haven’t had the consistency we needed and haven’t put the numbers on the board that we needed to,” said Busch, who has a 10.4 average start and 16.9 average finish during the eight Chase races. “Getting caught up in the crash at Talladega pretty much wiped out any chance of a championship run and we’ve been trying to get it turned around since.

“From a big-picture standpoint, we need to be competitive in these final two races of the season. Everyone will be in the same boat at Phoenix this weekend and we’re hoping we can be the guys who get the new configuration figured out and catch a few breaks along the way. If we can do that and then go down to Homestead and have another competitive weekend, it’ll be just what we need to look back on our season as a huge success and feel good about it.”

“We’ve just had a rough time out there since Talladega and we’ve been trying to get our competitive rhythm going again,” offered crew chief Steve Addington. “We know our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team is capable enough to end this season off on a high note. Kurt and everybody else on our team are hungry for another win or two in the next couple of weeks and we’ll all be out there giving it everything we have to get the job done.”

Busch, Addington and the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge Team will be racing the “PRS-748” chassis this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. The action in the desert this weekend will mark the first time out for the car in the “Double-Deuce” Shell-Pennzoil colors. However, Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski drove this car dressed in the No. 2 Miller Lite scheme during the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (finished 18th), in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis (started fifth & finished ninth) and the September Dover race (started 15th & finished 20th). The “PRS-749” chassis, which Busch raced in both Richmond races this season, will serve as the backup Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger this weekend.

Source: Motorsports

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Keselowski Tops Speed Charts at Preseason Thunder

2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, , Daytona 500 Testing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 22, 2011) With the 53rdDaytona 500 less than one month away, 34 NASCAR Cup Series teams descended on Daytona International Speedway (DIS) for Preseason Thunder, a three-day test at the 2.5-mile speed palace. For Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team, it also provided another opportunity for the new driver/team combination to develop all-important chemistry before the biggest race of the season.

DIS received a new racing surface following the Coke Zero 400 last July, making this one of the biggest off-season tests in recent memory. Gone was the worn asphalt and bumps that eventually led to a pothole that delayed last year’s “Great American Race” by two hours. In its place is an ultra-smooth surface that should produce more of the exciting racing that has come to define DIS.

The focus of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team for Day One of the test was on single-car, qualifying runs. Qualifying for the Daytona 500 will take place on Sunday, February 13, but it will lock in the top-two starting positions only. In the morning session, Keselowski posted a time of 49.204 seconds, or 182.912 miles per hour, which was the sixth-fastest time of the session. He followed that up with a time of 49.262 seconds, or 182.689 seconds, in the afternoon session.

Day Two began with early-morning rain showers moving through the area, which resulted in a delay in the action as the track drying process was underway. Teams were able to get back on the track at 1 pm and they immediately began to work on drafting practice, specifically the two-car draft that we have seen at the front of the field in recent restrictor-plate races. Keselowski, who owns two restrictor-plate wins in NASCAR competition, used a strong push from the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin to post the fourth-fastest time of the session at 45.873 seconds, or 196.194 miles per hour.

Drafting runs continued into Day Three, with Keselowski and teammate, Kurt Busch, working extensively as drafting partners. The two Dodges seemed to be perfect dancing partners as both drivers were affixed atop the scoring pylon by the end of the day, with Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge posting the fastest time of 45.316 seconds, or 198.605 miles per hour. The Penske Racing Dodge Chargers were the only cars to break the 198 mile per hour mark. This gives both driver and team a lot of confidence as they prepare for the final few weeks prior to returning to Daytona for Speedweeks.

“It was a good test, we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” said Keselowski. “We’ve found a lot of speed since we were down here for the Goodyear tire test in December. We’ve also targeted some areas where we need to be better and I’m confident that my ‘Blue Deuce’ team will figure out how to improve in those areas.”

“The new surface is outstanding,” continued Keselowski. “The re-surfacing was something that I was a proponent of all along. We’re going to see a different Daytona 500 than we’ve probably ever seen. Cars are going to be bunched together, like we see at Talladega, and there will be a lot of lead changes.”

[Source: Penskeracing]

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