Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Associated Press | File 2012
Brad Keselowski hugs owner Roger Penske after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship last year.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
It took 22 years for Miller Lite to make it to the top of NASCAR, and Brad Keselowski made it worth the wait when he cheerfully chugged the beer from an oversized glass during a live televised interview while celebrating his first Sprint Cup championship last November.
It was an iconic moment in the relationship between Penske Racing and MillerCoors, one that spans more than 30 years and ranks among the longest in sports.
Now it’s guaranteed to continue at least another four years as Penske on Wednesday revealed multiyear extensions with both Keselowski and Miller Lite through the 2017 season.
“This puts us in great shape because we’ve got continuity with a sponsor and an elite driver,” team owner Roger Penske told The Associated Press.
It’s the second contract extension for the defending Sprint Cup champion in less than two years. Keselowski signed an extension after the 2011 season that ran through next year, and the contract was redone to put the driver and sponsor in concurrent deals.
Miller Lite has been the primary sponsor of Penske’s flagship No. 2 since 1991. MillerCoors first partnered with Penske as a sponsor at race tracks he owned, and was sponsor of Danny Sullivan’s 1985 Indianapolis 500 winning car, building a personal relationship with Penske that survived up-and-down seasons in NASCAR.
It also comes at a time when sponsors are rethinking their participation in NASCAR. Not MillerCoors.
“There is a large wave of beer-drinking guys who really enjoy NASCAR and it makes sense for us to be there,” England said. “These are still enormously attended events, and they don’t just shop for three hours. They shop for four days. There’s huge levels of commitment for this sport, and we need to be there.”
Blaney gets a Cup start
Penske Racing will run Ryan Blaney in the Nationwide Series race at Phoenix on Nov. 9.
It’s a bonus race for Blaney, who thought he was done for the season after his Sept. 21 victory at Kentucky in the No. 22 Ford. It was his second and final scheduled Nationwide race of the year. The Penske organization added Phoenix to Blaney’s schedule in a third entry, the No. 43 Ford.
Team owner Roger Penske doesn’t know how many more Nationwide races are in Blaney’s immediate future. A lack of sponsorship for current Nationwide Series championship leader Sam Hornish Jr. means Penske Racing will likely be down to one full-time Nationwide car next season, so Blaney’s opportunities outside of the Truck Series could be limited. Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano currently share one of the Penske Nationwide rides.
“We’ll run one car in Nationwide and split that between Brad and Joey and give Blaney some of the races, but not a full season,” Penske said. “He’ll run the truck, and we’ll see what races we can get him.”
So where does that leave Hornish? Looking for a job outside of the Penske organization.
“At this point we don’t have full sponsorship for a second car for next year, and it’s just time for him to go on to the Cup side and hopefully there’s something for him to hook into,” Penske said. “We’d like to give him the ability to have those options. We’ve obviously tried to do everything we can to build his confidence and this year shows he’s done a really nice job on the Nationwide side.”
Tire returns for Kansas
Goodyear will use the multi-zone tread tire at Kansas Speedway this weekend following a successful debut of the technology last month at Atlanta.
The tire technology has been used on passenger cars for nearly a decade, but Goodyear only recently attempted it on its NASCAR product. It features two distinct tread compounds on the same tire — one for traction and one for endurance.
For Kansas, Goodyear’s challenge was designing a tire with a compound soft enough to wear but not provide too much grip. Goodyear used an imaging system to get precise characteristics of track surfaces to develop the tire that it will use in Sunday’s race.
Weather JournalBreather before next wintry system