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November 15, 2012

Milford grad gearing up for big race

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The team has won one championship. In 2010, Wolfe and Keselowski gave Penske his first NASCAR national series championship in the Nationwide Series. Keselowski was also running at the Sprint Cup level that year. It was after the championship that Wolfe was offered the promotion to the Cup series.

The success of the team this year has surprised some in NASCAR since Johnson is a five-time champion and veteran of the sport, but it is Keselowski that has led for much of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He also drew some fire from other drivers last week in Phoenix when he raced to gain an advantage at a restart. Keselowski responded with fire of his own, blasting his critics.

“I don’t know if Brad has any friends in the garage or not,” Wolfe said. “When it comes down to racing for the championship, at the end of the day, we want to make sure we continue to do it our way.”

One thing is for certain, Keselowski has impressed his crew chief.

“One thing about Brad, is he works very hard,” Wolfe said. “He’s not a guy who goes out and sets the fastest lap time. He is a guy who has a very good feel for racing. He works very hard trying to understand how a race plays out and what he needs his car to do.

“He is a great leader to this team. It is just the way he carries himself. There is something about when Brad is around. He finds a way to motivate everybody.”

Johnson led the Chase by seven points going into the Phoenix race, but a blown tire caused him to crash and he finished a distant 32nd. The crash surprised even Wolfe.

“I thought going into Phoenix, we would have to win the race to have a chance,” he said. “I was caught off guard by the 48 car crashing. It was not their best weekend of racing, for sure. We are in a much better situation than we planned for or could have hoped for.”

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