BK Searches for First Cup Road Course Win

At the second of two tracks that make both left- and right-hand turns, Brad Keselowski still has his eyes on a first road race victory at Watkins Glen International. And at The Glen, the possibility is there.

Kes has had a wealth of success at the seven-turn track over his career at both the Cup and XFINITY level. The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion drive has one NXS win to his name at Watkins Glen, but he’s yet to visit Victory Lane in the Cup Series. To do so this weekend, he’ll have to conquer the new surface at the New York race track.

“My thoughts on the pavement is I think we’ve seen a pretty dramatic shift in probably the last four or five years with respect to the type of pavement that’s being used to repave the tracks,” Brad said. “We probably saw that again at Watkins Glen, where the pavement is very, very smooth. It lasts a really long time.”

In his six starts at the 2.45-mile course, Brad’s posted a trilogy of runner-up results. In both 2011 and 2012, he came up second to Australian road racing ace Marcos Ambrose—with the latter of two producing one of the greatest finishes in recent history.

For crew chief Paul Wolfe, a native of Milford, N.Y., the annual trip to the Glen is a homecoming event.

“I’m a big fan of Watkins Glen,” Wolfe says. “Going there brings back a lot of memories from my first visits to the track when I was a kid. I still have some family and friends that are in the area, so it’s good to see them while there.”

Early last week, Kes was one of a handful of drivers eligible to test on WGI’s fresh tarmac. Immediately after posting the fastest lap of the day, his Deuce sailed into the first turn without the aid of any stopping power. With his brakes out, he slammed hard into a tire barrier but walked away without injury. Following the test crash, Kes praised NASCAR and those at the Penske shop for making his ride safe enough to keep him unharmed during such a frightening wreck. But he also opined on the strides that can be made going forward at road courses like The Glen.

“Road courses remain the most dangerous tracks in motorsports for a good reason because of that, but we know that going in. Some place has to be the safest and some place has to be the most dangerous,” Brad said. “It’s funny because a lot of times we end up talking about Daytona and Talladega and they don’t ever worry me as much as road courses do, I can promise you that.”

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Kes will run the NXS/NSCS double in the No. 22 REV Group Ford Mustang, alongside Joey Logano, who will pilot the No. 12 Snap-On Ford. Brad has finished in the Top 10 in all seven of his NXS starts in upstate New York. As he looks for his second win in the second-tier series, he’ll gain some valuable experience on the newly repaved surface.

Once he heads back up to the Cup circuit on Sunday, he’ll be looking to continue a strong summer. Stretching back to the last five races, he’s put up two victories, as well as a second-place finish last week at Pocono Raceway. And in the last 13 races, he’s finished outside of the Top 15 just once with a 17th place result at The Brickyard.

He’ll be one of the drivers to beat once again this weekend. He put his White Lite seventh on the board in first practice and was sixth in final practice. Qualifying is set for 12:15 p.m. ET on Saturday.

The 2 Crew will take on Watkins Glen International’s seven turns for the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen. The 90 lap race airs live on USA, Sunday, Aug. 7 at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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