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Keselowski Enjoys Kentucky Speedway

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Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski likes racing at Kentucky Speedway so much, he plans on doing it three times this month.

Keselowski announced Wednesday he intends to compete in all three NASCAR races, June 27-29, at the track.

“I want to come here and run all three races, and win,” Keselowski said. “Kentucky’s been one of my best race tracks. I’ve won here on the Cup side, I’ve won here two years ago in the Nationwide Series, but I haven’t won here in the Truck Series yet. To come here and win all three, that would be really something special.”

He came close to winning in the Truck Series last year, finishing second in that event. At this point in the season, Kentucky will be the only race weekend where Keselowski plans on racing in all three events. He was at Kentucky Speedway to shoot at some clay targets and promote the inaugural “Pulling for Kids” charity clay shoot, which will take place June 27, at Elk Creek Hunt Club, close to the track. In partnership with Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns Kentucky Speedway, and Speedway Children’s Charities, the National Rifle Association Foundation is participating in the event to help raise funds for children in need in the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana area.

The 29-year-old Penske Racing driver who calls Farmington Hills, Mich. his hometown, has family on his mom’s side who live in the Dayton area.

“This area is pretty special to me. My mom’s side of the family lives in the New Carlisle-Tipp City area, up around Dayton, and I also have family who live in Cincinnati, so it would be pretty special to win for them and the Penske businesses in the area as well.”

Kentucky Speedway’s 1.5-mile banked tri-oval runs similar to Texas Motor Speedway, Keselowski said, but what makes Kentucky stand out is the track’s unique racing surface. Team cars from Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing were testing at the track on Wednesday.

“I’ve heard Kyle Busch’s team was out here today. I don’t want him to be able to get any extra track time. He and I have both had some great runs here — he won the first race here and I won the second race here last year — and we both seem to have a great package for here and we run well. “I really like this track and how it fits my driving style. It’s got a lot of character, a lot of bumps to it, and getting through that is difficult, but I really like that challenge.”

He said that whomever runs well at Texas, should be a contender at Kentucky. He said 2011 inaugural race winner Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, five-time Cup Series winner Jimmie Johnson and Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth should be factors at Kentucky. Whoever can deal with the rough track surface the best will win.

“This particular style of race track is actually a lot different than our other mile and a half tracks, because of just how rough the track is,” Keselowski said. “And that requires some different settings in the cars. I think you look for trends, you look for cars that have speed at similar tracks, like maybe Texas, and those guys are probably the ones to beat.”

In April, Busch grabbed the pole and led 171 of the race’s 334 laps to take the win at Texas Motor Speedway’s NRA 500. Martin Truex and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-3, with Keselowski finishing on the lead lap in ninth.

The 2012 Quaker State 400 was one of the hottest events on the Sprint Cup schedule last season, with temperatures up in the 90s. Keselowski hopes to use the heat to his advantage.

“I think it was over 100 degrees here last season. I love it. I seem to respond really well to it, I’m a smaller guy and so I just seem to do really well in the heat. And there are some other drivers who don’t do well in the heat, so it’s one of the challenges that I have embraced here,” he said. Keselowski’s triple-play race weekend will start at 8 p.m., June 27 with the “UNOH 225” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event. He will then compete in the Nationwide Series’ “Feed the Children 300,” which is set for a 7:30 p.m. start June 28. Finally, Keselowski will suit up in his Miller Lite driver’s suit for the NASCAR Sprint Cup event, the Quaker State 400, at 7:30 p.m. June 28.

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