Brad Keselowski wins in Kentucky! The No. 2 Team Penske Ford Fusion with the power from the Ford FR9 race engine finds itself in victory lane for the second weekend in a row. Keselowski is officially the first driver to secure his place in the Chase. Roush Yates Engines in partnership with Ford Performance developed and built the race winning Ford FR9 engine in Mooresville, NC.
“Congratulations to Brad on his fourth win,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “We have had a couple of very intense weekends, coming down to the final laps. The Roush Yates Engines team is very proud to be partnering with Ford Performance and Team Penske. Working with such a talented group of people that all have the same goal in mind, to win races and championships. We have some great momentum going and we just need to keep digging.”
On the heels of winning Daytona, the No. 2 of Keselowski claimed his fourth win of the season and 21st of his career. Starting on the front row in P2 and leading a total of 75 laps out of the 267 laps recorded, Keselowski was able to navigate the newly repaved 1.5 mile tri-oval track, where tires and fuel management became the Big Stories of the night. “I’ve got to give credit to my guys, the Roush Yates Engines shop, and everybody at Ford,” said Keselowski in victory lane. “We knew the fuel mileage. We went out and we set a really fast pace on that restart and was just using fuel, and then it became obvious that we were gonna have to save fuel at the end, but I already used so much. It’s a testament to our guys.”
With a race that only saw nine different leaders, Keselowski was able to pass the No. 4 of Harvick with 66 laps left to take the lead. The No. 2 came off the final restart strong and was able to leverage the performance and reliability of the Ford FR9 race engine to pull away from the group. On a four pit stop strategy, it became evident with 20 laps to go that a fuel saving strategy would be needed in order to make it to the end. Keselowski and the fuel efficiency of the Ford Fusion did a brilliant job conserving fuel and was able to stretch it out for 72 laps. In a dramatic fashion off the last corner, with only .175 seconds separating the No.2 and No. 19 of Carl Edwards, No.2 was able to hold off the No. 19 for the checkered flag. This was a night that Team Penske and Crew Chief Paul Wolfe will not forget. Marking Ford’s 644th all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. “It’s definitely an emotional rollercoaster for sure the last few laps of that race,” said Paul Wolfe, Crew Chief of the No. 2. “When we pitted, I guess it was with about 70 to go, we knew that everyone was a little bit short. I feel like we’ve been on the good side of the fuel mileage this year. All the guys at Roush Yates have worked hard to give us power and mileage, and that showed up again tonight.”
Keselowski being the only Ford driver to win at Kentucky has now accomplished it a record three times out of the six years NASCAR has raced in Kentucky, leaving him 4 points out of first place (599-595). Ford teammates Greg Biffle No. 16 and Trevor Bayne No. 6 from the Roush Fenway team finished sixth and 11th respectively.
In addition to the Team Penske’s win in Kentucky, they also achieved another milestone, their 500th pole, with Simon Pagenaud at Iowa.
With only eight races before the Chase, the Ford Performance and Roush Yates Engines teams’ continue to build momentum and refining their strategy as they look forward to Loudon, New Hampshire.