February 23, 2012 9:35 AM
It’s a week of anticipation, a week where hope reigns supreme
and every driver in the field sports a perfect record.
The 2012 NASCAR season is nearly upon us.
It’s the Daytona 500.
Daytona is known as “The Great American Race,”
NASCAR’s Super Bowl, if you will. No matter that this premier
event comes at the start of the season. Daytona ushers in three
dozen grueling races leading up to the crowning of a Chase for the
Sprint Cup champion in November.
Penske Racing’s 2012 NASCAR lineup is anchored by Brad
Keselowski, who is coming off a rewarding season that saw him rack
up three victories and finish fifth in the Chase, a far cry from
what the so-called experts predicted for him and his No. 2 Miller
Lite Dodge Charger R/T.
“We saw the pre-season rankings last year, and we were ranked
21st,” said Keselowski. “In 2012, I’m committed
to getting that first cup championship here at Penske
Keselowski’s new Penske Racing teammate, A.J. Allmendinger,
will take part in Sprint Cup competition in the No. 22
Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T.
Two cars will run on the Nationwide circuit. Sam Hornish Jr. will
drive a full schedule behind the wheel of the No. 12 Alliance Truck
Parts Dodge Challenger. Keselowski will split time with Parker
Kligerman in the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger.
Kligerman will also race full-time in the Camping World Truck
series for Brad Keselowski Racing, driving the No. 29
Cequent/Cooper Standard Ram.
And, as we head into our first race weekend, some fast facts on
Dodge and Daytona International Speedway:
• Dodge has four Daytona 500 wins (Richard Petty (2), Ward
Burton and Ryan Newman)
• Dodge had a 1-2 finish in the 2008 Daytona 500 when Ryan
Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) and Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite
Dodge) claimed the top two spots in the 50th running of the
“Great American Race.” Dodge drivers finished in six of
the first eight positions•
• A.J. Allmendinger’s career best finish of third came
at the 2009 Daytona 500 while driving a Dodge Charger for Richard