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NASCAR Preview: Keselowski the latest to win at Bristol in the No. 2

By NASCAR Media
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
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Brad Keselowski hopes to add another Bristol win to the history of the No. 2 Penske Ford Sunday afternoon. / Photo: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images
BRISTOL, TN - Brad Keselowski has won two of the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Bristol Motor Speedway, which should surprise absolutely no one.

Even if it doesn’t seem immediately apparent, a closer look at statistical history shows he’s an heir to this slice of success.

It’s all about the No. 2 – plus a trio of top-rung drivers who through the years have combined to give Team Penske a total of 10 victories at the historic .533-mile oval with three different manufacturers – Pontiac, Dodge and Ford.

Rusty Wallace racked up seven BMS wins in the No. 2. And he had two other Bristol wins before that, driving for owner Raymond Beadle.

Kurt Busch added an eighth Bristol win for Penske’s No. 2, that coming after four victories driving for Jack Roush.

Keselowski brought the total to 10 with two straight trips to Bristol’s victory lane, winning the 2011 night race and then the 2012 spring event. He appears primed to bring home the 11th win, after winning this past Sunday At Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He comes in second in series points, merely one behind Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

The 2012 series champion, who surprisingly failed to make the Chase last year, Keselowski has almost assured himself a spot this season – the new Chase format gives the top 15 race winners automatic berths provided they attempt to qualify for each of the 26 races prior to the Chase and are in the top 30 in points. With the pressure relatively lessened, the fun has returned after the disappointment of 2013.

“I want to win Indy; that would be big (for Roger Penske),” Keselowski said. “Michigan would be a really big win. I'd take Bristol and California while I'm at it. But … we just want to get some more wins, and then obviously you've got to get on steady footing once you reach the back half of the year with your cars and team to where you're just consistent frontrunners so you can really get into those last 10 races and make some noise.”

WDUN will have live PRN Radio coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway Sunday beginning at Noon on 102.9 Fm and at 1 pm on 550 AM.

NASCAR Nationwide Series: Bayne Heads Home In Better Place Than 2013

What a difference one year can make. After the first three races of 2013, Trevor Bayne sat eighth in the standings, 32 points behind leader Sam Hornish, Jr. The Tennessee driver had a respectable pair of fourth-place finishes to ease the burn of a disappointing 31st in the season-opening race at Daytona.

Fast forward to 2014 and Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 presented by Lilly Diabetes at Bristol Motor Speedway. Bayne returns to his home state and track in a much better position – second place in the standings, three points behind current leader Regan Smith. Bayne arrives at his home track with a streak of five consecutive top-10 finishes dating back to last season, with finishes of third, seventh and eighth to start this year.

In 10 series starts at the .533-mile short track, Bayne has three top 10s, including a sixth-place finish in his most recent visit. In the 2013 March event, he finished 12th after pacing the field for 13 laps.

If there is one thing evident after the first three races, it is that the points battle is closer than it was last year, especially at the very top. The three-point gap between Smith and Bayne is small in comparison to the 19 points last year that separated Hornish from Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler and Brian Scott, who were all tied.

Sadler (-9), Ty Dillon (-12) and Chase Elliott (-14) round out the top five.

Of the five drivers currently in the top five, only Sadler has won in Bristol. In March 2012, he beat NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran Kasey Kahne by 1.159 seconds. He also won there in the NNS in 1998 and a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event in 2001. Sadler’s team, Joe Gibbs Racing, has fielded six of the last seven Bristol winners.

WDUN will have live PRN Radio coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive To Stop Diabetes 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday beginning at 1:30 pm on 102.9 FM.

NASCAR Camping World Trucks: Custer Set To Make Series Debut At Martinsville

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East regular Cole Custer will attempt to make his first start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, Mar. 29.

He will arrive in Martinsville on a hot streak after winning the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event at Phoenix International Raceway on Feb. 27. In Phoenix, Custer edged truck series regular Brennan Newberry for his third series victory.

Custer, son of Stewart-Hass Racing Executive Vice President Joe Custer, will compete in a total of nine races in the series this season.

In addition to both races at Martinsville Speedway, Custer will also compete in events at Dover, Gateway, Iowa, Bristol, Canada, Loudon and Phoenix.

Custer finished eighth in the final NKNPSE standings last year and in just 17 career starts he has amassed an impressive resume. In addition to his three wins between the two series – just the ninth driver in history to accomplish that feat – he has eight top-10 finishes.

Custer won at two tracks he will drive his truck in this year at New Hampshire and Iowa-2.

Custer will compete in selected NKNPS races throughout the season and he will make his first NKNPSE start of the season this week at Bristol Motor Speedway.



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