Commuting to Iowa may help Brad Keselowski’s pit crew, too

NEWTON, IA - AUGUST 2:  Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by Enlist Weed Control System at Iowa Speedway on August 2, 2013 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

NEWTON, IA – AUGUST 2: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by Enlist Weed Control System at Iowa Speedway on August 2, 2013 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

LONG POND, Pa.–Though he’s been criticized in some quarters for the decision to race both at Pocono Raceway and Iowa Speedway this weekend, Brad Keselowski believes it’s important to honor a commitment he made more than three months ago.

And though Keselowski currently is in danger of missing the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after winning the series championship in 2012, he’s not concerned that commuting between the two race tracks will have a negative effect on his Cup program.

“There is a little (wear and tear), but I get paid to be tough enough to do that,” Keselowski said Friday after posting the 25th fastest qualifying lap during time trials at Pocono. “That’s my job.”

To those who would question the wisdom of running both the Cup race and the Nationwide Series event at Iowa, Keselowski had a definitive answer.

“I say I made a promise I would go there, and I am going to make good on my promise,” he said. “That’s just as important as anything else I do.”

In fact, the Iowa race also affords an opportunity for some of Keselowski’s pit crew members to work out issues that have plagued the team this season. Rear tire changer Colin Fambrough and rear carrier Larry Robinett joined Keselowski’s Iowa pit crew for Saturday’s race.

Fambrough is back in action after shakeups to the crew failed to produce improved results. The Penske Racing teams went as far as moving several crew members from Joey Logano’s Ford to Keselowski’s during the July 14 Cup race at New Hampshire, after Logano spun and smacked the wall early in the event.

For Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono, however, Keselowski will have the same crew that won the Cup championship last year, minus front tire carrier Scott Reiniger, who retired. Jeremy Ogles is the team’s new front carrier.

“Basically, we’re back to the point with our crew–basically all the guys minus a rear carrier–where we started the season and feel like we were our best,” crew chief Paul Wolfe said Saturday at Pocono. “We moved guys around and brought in some different guys trying to make something happen and trying to find something, and we just haven’t had any success at that.

“So now we are going back to what our best lineup was early in the year. Is that exactly where we want it? No, but for the next six weeks that’s what we need to do. Long-term, we might make more changes.”

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