Keselowski coming back to Iowa

NEWTON – Brad Keselowski will go for No. 3 in this weekend’s U.S. Cellular 250.

Iowa Speedway officials announced Monday that the two-time NASCAR national series champion will be back to defend his 2013 win at Iowa Speedway aboard the No. 22 Team Penske car.

Keselowski, who also won the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway in 2009, will make his seventh start in NASCAR’s second-tier series this season.

“Having a driver of Brad’s talent in the race will make the full-time NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers elevate their game,” said Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small. “Iowa Speedway definitely suits his driving style and he really likes this place.”

Last year Keselowski endured a 1,000-mile flight from Pennsylvania, a pit road violation and a faltering engine to find himself in Pizza Ranch Victory Lane following the U.S. Cellular 250. He has two wins in four races at Iowa Speedway and has already won a pair of Nationwide races in 2014.

The two-time champ believes Newton’s venue caters to both drivers and fans.

“The design and layout is one of the few tracks that has a great balance between what the drivers like and the fans like,” Keselowski said. “Drivers want a track where you can run and not spin out all the time for no reason, and they like the smaller tracks but not too small.

“This track is 7/8 of a mile so it’s smaller but not so small you’re on top of everybody. And I think drivers like that.

“From a fan perspective with the progressive banking and the way the track has aged and gotten rougher, the cars seen to run side by side here really well, and I think that makes for great racing for the fans from that perspective.”

Keselowski will replace Ryan Blaney in the No. 22 car so Blaney can run a trucks race in Pocono on Saturday. Keselowski will fly back to Pennsylvania following Saturday night’s race to run the No. 2 car at Pocono on Sunday.

Team Penske’s NASCAR Nationwide Series team sits second in the owner standings, 8 points behind the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing team.