News & Media

From the Notebook: Keselowksi offers fuel (mileage) for debate

September 29, 2011, Dave Rodman,

From the Notebook: Preseason Thunder planning; Gaughan swims with sharks

Brad Keselowski's Penske Racing Dodge is getting great fuel mileage -- in fact, Keselowski already has won at least one race this season primarily because of that fact. But no matter, the surprising feel-good story of this Cup season is enjoying each successive race, no matter what affects the outcome.

"I just think every race has its own personality," Keselowski said. "With this particular car and the way it's designed, it's going to lean toward this [fuel-mileage strategy] personality a little bit more. It doesn't bother me. I don't think it's bad racing, personally, [though] I know there's people that do.

"I think if you looked at the odds on how many fuel-mileage races there's been, I would say over 50 percent the fastest car still wins the race. I try not to read too much into it. I know there's been a lot of people talking about fuel-mileage racing dominating the sport or being bad for it. I still think there's been a lot of races that haven't been decided on fuel mileage -- I guess it just doesn't seem like too big of a deal to me."

Dover, this weekend's Cup and Nationwide venue, is so fast and so wild fuel mileage is not likely to tell the story. But either way, Keselowski's anticipating it highly. A Nationwide Series win there in 2010 certainly didn't hurt his opinion.

"I absolutely [like Dover] -- I don't think Dover gets the recognition that it deserves," Keselowski said. "I think Dover, you can't help but compare it to Bristol and after winning Bristol I feel really good going [to Dover].

"It's a nasty race track and I mean that in a good way. Very few tracks are as physically demanding as Dover. It's hard on both the drivers and the equipment. At no point during the race can you just log laps because, if you aren't racing another driver, you are making sure that you keep your car out of the wall. For that reason, Dover is one of my favorite tracks."

Preseason Thunder dates announced

NASCAR Preseason Thunder, the three-day Cup Series test session at Daytona International Speedway, will be held Jan. 12-14, 2012.

The best news for race fans is that the sessions can be watched for free from a section of the Turn 4 Oldfield Grandstand.

All NASCAR Preseason Thunder test sessions begin at 9 a.m. ET and end at 5 p.m. ET, weather permitting. Each includes a lunch break from noon until 1 p.m. ET. For a to-be-determined charge, fans can enter the infield on Jan. 12-13 for NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest -- from 5-9 p.m. ET, on Thursday, Jan. 12, and from 5-7 p.m. ET, on Friday, Jan. 13.

The schedule of driver question-and-answer and autograph sessions will be finalized closer to the event. Tickets for the NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest, which include autograph session wristbands, will be available for purchase at a later date. For fans who would like to be contacted regarding NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest ticket information can sign up online at

The Roar Before the Rolex 24, the tune-up session for the historic 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, is scheduled for Jan. 6-8.

Gaughan is an ultimate racer, but Kentucky ...

Brendan Gaughan finished third in July at Kentucky Speedway, this weekend's Truck Series venue, his best finish of a beguiling season that's seen more than one good run end with a mechanical malady or bent fenders. Gaughan, a scuba-diving fanatic, this week had good reason to opine that "diving in a shark tank is a lot more predictable than racing against the odds and competition in the Truck Series each week." Leading into the Kentucky race weekend, Gaughan took a swim in the Newport (Ky.) Aquarium shark tank.

"To be honest, diving in the shark tank is a whole lot easier than racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series -- there's no question about it," Gaughan said. "The sharks aren't going to do anything crazy to you -- most often when they are in a tank, they are pretty well fed so you don't have to worry about being a snack. Diving in the tank is more about relaxing, observing and just letting the sharks swim around you.

"In the Truck Series, the drivers are more like the sharks probably at feeding time. We are all after the best we can get and there's no telling how we'll all go about getting it."

Bodine in select Kentucky company

Todd Bodine's last Camping World Truck Series win came at Kentucky Speedway, this weekend's venue. Considering the elite company Bodine's in at the 1.5-mile track, there could be no better place for him to break a 26-race losing streak.

Bodine is one of only three drivers in NASCAR's three national series to have won Truck and Nationwide series races there, along with Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch. Of course Busch, who won the inaugural Kentucky Cup race in July, is in elite company on that score, the only driver to win in all three series.

Earnhardt pointing at Ware outing

Jeffrey Earnhardt started the 2011 Truck Series season with Rick Ware Racing before lack of sponsorship interrupted the campaign. But now, not only is Earnhardt planning a full 2012 Grand-Am Rolex Series season with Ware, thanks to Poynt Corp., a mobile search and advertising company, Earnhardt will be back in RWR's No. 1 truck at Talladega Superspeedway in October.

Wallace takes first step after title

Chrissy Wallace, Nationwide Series veteran Mike Wallace's youngest daughter, hoped her ASA Late Model track championship at Lebanon (Mo.) I-44 Speedway might lead to a NASCAR opportunity, but her next step actually is into the ARCA Racing Series finale at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway next month. The 200-lap event on the half-mile paved oval will be shown live on SPEED, and it'll put Wallace, 23, in a Cunningham Racing Dodge tended by former Cup Series champion crew chief Paul Andrews, who has an association with the Wallace family going back to when they all lived in the St. Louis area.