Defending champion Brad Keselowski unfazed by latest penalty

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NOTES

Brad Keselowski’s standing in the chase for his second consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship is an encouraging sign of where his team is headed.

The Penske Racing driver foresees a better outlook once his team gets a handle on the circuit’s rules process.

Keselowski was docked six points by NASCAR on Tuesday after his No. 2 Ford failed post-race inspection at Dover for being too low. Combined with April’s 25-point penalty for having an illegal part at Texas, he enters this weekend’s race at Pocono Raceway 10th in points instead of possibly fourth.

While neither the team nor Keselowski disputes NASCAR’s latest punishment, Keselowski said it has them more determined to bounce back and earn their first victory of the season, which they believe is within reach.

“I completely understood this week’s (penalty) and kind of stick up for NASCAR on that one. The other one, not so much,” Keselowski said during a stop Wednesday at Kentucky Speedway.

“But at this point, it kind of is what it is and you have to move forward and focus on the task at hand, which is having a strong run through the summer, winning races and be in position for the Chase.”

LOST FEELING: Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. both lost engines during last Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway. While engine failures are an inescapable element of racing, what’s happening with Toyota is far from ordinary.

According to NASCAR post-race reports, Toyota has lost 17 engines during the first 13 races and another four during practice.

All Toyota engines are built at Toyota Racing Development. Kenseth leads the Sprint Cup Series with three victories, but he’s only fourth in the standings because he’s lost two engines – at the Daytona 500 at Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, N.C.

“I mean I feel like JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) has three of the strongest teams in the garage,” Kenseth said. “It seems like we got the best cars out there – or equal to the best cars. But, you know you have to finish these things. Obviously, there’s been some issues in that department.”

Other Toyota drivers with engine problems include: Travis Kvapil (four failures), Kyle Busch (two), Bobby Labonte (two), Joe Nemechek (two) and Truex, David Stremme, Clint Bowyer, David Reutimann and Mike Bliss with one each.

“There’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t do anything from a preparation standpoint,” Kenseth said. “From a driving standpoint, I mean I can’t be any easier on it then I’ve been on it, so something is wrong. It’s not driver induced. It’s not too many miles in practice. It’s nothing like that. Something wrong with a part and it broke.”


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