NASCAR Cup
NASCAR Cup
28 Feb
Event finished
07 Mar
Event finished
14 Mar
Event finished
21 Mar
Event finished
28 Mar
Event finished
R
Richmond
18 Apr
Next event in
5 days
R
Talladega
25 Apr
Next event in
12 days
R
02 May
Next event in
19 days
R
Darlington
09 May
Next event in
26 days
R
16 May
Next event in
33 days
23 May
Next event in
40 days
R
Charlotte
30 May
Next event in
47 days
R
06 Jun
Next event in
54 days
R
13 Jun
Next event in
61 days
R
Nashville
20 Jun
Next event in
68 days
R
Pocono I
26 Jun
Next event in
74 days
R
Pocono II
27 Jun
Next event in
75 days
R
Road America
04 Jul
Next event in
82 days
R
Atlanta II
11 Jul
Next event in
89 days
R
New Hampshire
18 Jul
Next event in
96 days
R
Watkins Glen
08 Aug
Next event in
117 days
R
Indianapolis
15 Aug
Next event in
124 days
R
Michigan
22 Aug
Next event in
131 days
R
Daytona II
28 Aug
Next event in
137 days
R
Darlington II
05 Sep
Next event in
145 days
R
Richmond II
11 Sep
Next event in
151 days
R
Bristol II
18 Sep
Next event in
158 days
R
Las Vegas II
26 Sep
Next event in
166 days
R
Talladega II
03 Oct
Next event in
173 days
R
Charlotte II
10 Oct
Next event in
180 days
R
Texas II
17 Oct
Next event in
187 days
R
Kansas II
24 Oct
Next event in
194 days
R
Martinsville II
31 Oct
Next event in
201 days
R
Phoenix II
07 Nov
Next event in
208 days

Could this be the year that Roger Penske pulls off the IndyCar/NASCAR double?

Team Penske is heating up heading into the playoffs.

Could this be the year that Roger Penske pulls off the IndyCar/NASCAR double?
Roger Penske
Race winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Championship winner Will Power celebrates
Will Power, Penske Racing Chevrolet
Race winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Helio Castroneves, Penske Racing Chevrolet and Roger Penske
Race winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Tim Cindric
Race winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Chase drivers Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Aric Almirola, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski, A.J. Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick
Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano
Race winner Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Start: Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford leads
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Roger Penske
Race winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford takes the win
Chase drivers Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Aric Almirola, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski, A.J. Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick
Race winner Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford takes the win
Championship victory lane: 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing Dodge celebrates with Roger Penske and his team
2012 champion Brad Keselowski with crew chief Paul Wolfe and team owner Roger Penske

RICHMOND – High above turn four at Richmond International Raceway, The Captain watched Brad Keselowski deliver Team Penske its 400th win on Saturday night.

Keselowski’s fourth win of the season vaulted the No. 2 Ford to the top seed in the Chase.

Coming just one week after Will Power ended an eight-year title drought on the open wheel side, Roger Penske appears poised to become the first team owner to win championships in IndyCar and NASCAR in the same season.

“This last week, when you think about California, the IndyCar championship, come back here this weekend, getting our 400th win, have to thank this guy,” Penske said of Keselowski.  “Told me before the race started, I'm going to get you 400.

“For me it's a special time.  To compete at the level we are, it's so close, this thing can go anyway.” 

We're not blind. We know there's plenty of guys out there that beat us, they're going to want to. What we have to do is stay on course.

Roger Penske

With more than a half-century of racing experience, Penske realizes how quickly momentum can shift. But for now, the odds appear to be in his favor.

“We take this in stride,” Penske said. “Obviously being the top seed is a tremendous effort for the team and certainly puts us in a great place. 

“But we're not blind. We know there's plenty of guys out there that beat us, they're going to want to. What we have to do is stay on course.

On the IndyCar side of Team Penske’s operation, the title fight in the closing weeks featured Power and Helio Castroneves. A similar scenario could be shaping up between former Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski and his Penske teammate Joey Logano.

And that wouldn’t be a bad problem to have for Team Penske.

TEAM EFFORT

Rather than taking the credit for the team’s accomplishments, Penske humbly shines the light on his people.

He asserts the company’s current success stems from combining both race operations under one roof in Mooresville, N.C. and the ability to “cross-pollenize” resources.

“We moved people from NASCAR to IndyCar and vice versa, even over‑the‑wall guys, Penske said. “That's been an opportunity.  I think we wanted to be one team.  We were north, south. 

“At the end of the day Tim Cindric (Team Penske President) said, ‘Let's put them all together.’ It's made a big difference.”

That includes the company’s effort on pit road. Last night the Nos. 2 and 22 finished first and second, respectively for the least amount of time in the pits.

THE COMEBACK

Certainly, Keselowski’s disappointment after missing the 2013 Chase has fueled both him and the No. 2 team. Penske believes Keselowski is the catalyst behind the team’s current success and referred to his contribution as “outstanding”.

I give him a lot of credit because he's pushing the team.

Penske on Keselowski

“Obviously, tonight was a dominating run,” Penske said.  “It shows when we do get things together, the performance we have on a team.  We also have to think about Brad last year, how he bounced back.  He was down maybe last year, but came back this season. 

“I give him a lot of credit because he's pushing the team, he's pushing Paul.  He and Joey (Logano) together, they're working each other, trying to find the speed in the cars.”

No doubt the young drivers are pushing each other. Logano, who started fifth and finished sixth after a slow final pit stop, is having the breakout season of his career. He’s won as many races (3) this season and led more laps (721) than he had in his first five seasons of Cup competition.

Perhaps the noticeable improvement in Penske’s offense has been its qualifying effort. This organization has mastered NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying.

Keselowski has converted three of his 11 front row starts into wins. Not only is his career four poles a personal best, he leads the league with the best average start of 6.5. Logano has seven front row starts and until last weekend at Atlanta had transferred to the final round of qualifying on all unrestricted tracks. His average qualifying effort of 8.5 ranks third behind Kevin Harvick (8.3) who tops the tour with six poles, a career-high for Happy.

Keselowski is peaking at the right time. With 2013 behind him and another season to acclimate not only to Ford but to new cars in general, the 30-year-old Michigander is on target to have by far the best year of his career.

“I just feel so lucky to have such an incredible team and car like we did tonight, and to be able to execute and not have any bad luck,” said Keselowski after leading 383 of 400 laps at Richmond, a new track record. “We’ve had plenty of bad luck over the last few weeks, but, wow, what a night.”

THE OUTLOOK

Keselowski should breeze through the first round of the Chase. He has wins Chicagoland and Dover and won at Loudon in July. In the second round, he’s won at Kansas and Talladega. Two of his four wins this season were earned on 1.5-milers not in the Chase but the team tested at Charlotte and will add Martinsville and Homestead, where the championship will be decided, in the next month.

If the team wasn’t under enough pressure already, Penske reminded crew chief Paul Wolfe on Saturday, “You're going to have to execute in that last pit stop in Homestead”.

Logano finished eighth in his first Chase appearance last season. He has one pole and one top 10 in the Chase opener at Chicagoland, but had a race-winning car at Loudon before Morgan Shepherd wrecked him. Logano finished eighth at Dover in June and has two top fives and seven top 10 finishes in 11 starts.

He finished fourth in his last two starts at Kansas, enjoys his best average finish (10.5) at Charlotte and if he can survive the crapshoot which is Talladega, Logano should rock the final round. He finished fourth at both Martinsville and Phoenix, where he led a combined 110 laps, and won at Texas after leadings 108 of 340 circuits.

Although everyone will test at Homestead, Logano’s best finish of eighth came on the 1.5-mile track last year and he won the pole in 2012.

JUST GETTING STARTED

In his fifth season with Team Penske, Keselowski believes the organization has never been better.

Despite having just two teams where other clubs have three or four, the partnership of Keselowski and Logano is solid. And while it’s the first time he’s earned four victories before the Chase, Keselowski feels he’s “a threat to win more races.”

I feel stronger than what we've ever been.

Brad Keselowski

“I feel more experienced and more confident,” Keselowski said. “I feel like from a teammate standpoint, we have a very strong teammate.  Having a great teammate isn't so much about the days where things are going your way; it's about the days and weekends when things aren't going your way, having someone else to lean on and find your sanity back.

“We certainly had some of those days in 2012.  We have a teammate and a scenario there across the board where that team has gotten very, very strong and is part of our success. I think for a lot of reasons. I'm sure I'm leaving some things out, that's not because they don't exist, but I feel stronger than what we've ever been.”

Certainly, Team Penske’s success did not occur overnight – particularly on the stock car side of his operation. It took nearly 25 years before Penske enjoyed his first Sprint Cup championship with Keselowski in 2012.

But with any successful venture, Penske has learned from his past and understands the importance of a true team effort.

“When I think about it, I think about drivers, the team members, all the people at Team Penske over the years that have executed and continued to pull in the right direction,” Penske said of win 400. “We've had some world‑class drivers.  Certainly when I sit here with Paul and Brad and Joey here this weekend, I think this demonstrates how lucky we are to be able to attract this type of talent on our team.

"Four hundred wins took a long time.  I remember when we tried to get to 200, we got stuck for a long time.  As we learn more and more about getting the right talent, continuity having the same people week in and week out. That's why Hendrick is so strong, you look at them year after year after year, they know how to execute. 

“I take my hat off to Mike Nelson (V.P. Operations), certainly today when you think about Travis Geisler (Competition Director) and Tim Cindric, these people have been with us for a long time.  We've grown our people, and that's what it takes.”

shares
comments
Beyond the bubble

Previous article

Beyond the bubble

Next article

Now that the Chase field is set, it’s time to rate the likely winners

Now that the Chase field is set, it’s time to rate the likely winners
Load comments
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020