Brad Keselowski has eyes on the future – specifically two months in the future.
The NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway is set for May 11, and by then, Keselowski said, teams should have a good feel for the new rules package introduced in Atlanta last weekend. Kansas will be the fourth mile-and-a-half venue the series visits this season.
“I’ve put Kansas down as a big marker,” said the 2012 Cup champion and Team Penske Ford driver.
“Out here on the west coast, away from our shops, the teams don’t really get a good chance to innovate – to apply the lessons learned. But by the time we get through Texas (March 31) and get to Kansas, I think we’ll see the field kind of settled in.”
The new rules package was rolled out in Atlanta without the aero ducts, one of its key components. Las Vegas this weekend will see a full rollout, and most in the garage anticipate this race being a better test of its characteristics, not only because NASCAR tested here over the winter, but also because, as a fast 1.5-miler, Las Vegas Motor Speedway is an ideal showcase.
After ISM Raceway (Phoenix) next weekend, the Cup teams head to Auto Club Speedway in Southern California – a wide, fast, two-mile oval. Then its back east for some short-track racing at Martinsville before Texas closes out the month of March. The Kansas race pops up six weeks later.
After Kansas comes two weeks of NASCAR racing in the teams’ backyard, Charlotte, which should be especially interesting this year: The rules package debuted in the All-Star Race at Charlotte exactly a year ago.