Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Team Penske Coming Alive At Right Time
LAS VEGAS, Nev — There may not be an organization heading into the playoffs with more momentum than Team Penske.
Brad Keselowski, not only captured a win in the Southern 500 but went a week later to win the Brickyard 400 too, taking home two of the biggest races of the season.
“I think heading into the playoffs; we’re in a decent position, ranked fourth right now, of course, we want to climb to first but, there’s a lot of great competition that won’t make it easy, nor should they,” Keselowski told POPULAR SPEED. “So with that in mind, the opportunity is in front of us, and we’ll see what we can deliver.”
The Michigan-native’s win was the first for Penske, since teammate Joey Logano’s victory at Talladega in April, and only the second and third throughout the entire season for the organization.
“Yeah, we’ve definitely had some highs and lows throughout the year, and I feel like we started the season relatively strong, and we’re ending the regular season strong, and had some highs and lows in the middle there and we’ll see what we can put together here in the playoffs,” Keselowski said.
However, the success isn’t just solely from the No. 2 team, as the other drivers in the Penske stable have shown strength as well.
At Bristol and Darlington, not did Logano finished in the top-five, but he led laps in both races; though his focus remains on what his team can do in the playoffs.
“Yeah, I think we’ve made some gains over the last few weeks,” Logano told POPULAR SPEED. “I think the true test will be Vegas, where everybody brings everything they got heading for the playoffs, and you have more of a typical mile and half race track. I think that’s kind of a good baseline to know where you are it.”
Meanwhile, Ryan Blaney hasn’t finished worse than 15th since Daytona in addition to being in contention for wins throughout his first year with the organization.
“I think our speed has been pretty close, I think the 12 car speed has been really good but just haven’t been able to close out in races where we’ve been in contention,” Blaney told POPULAR SPEED. “But, hopefully with him (Keselowski) winning the last few races, gives us some good momentum and I think our cars are closing the gap to some other teams that have been really strong this year. Hopefully, we can keep closing that gap here in the last few where it truly matters.”
The Penske trio isn’t getting ahead of themselves, knowing there is still work that can be done heading into the final ten races of the season.
“I think we got to keep working on our bodies, that’s probably our biggest piece right now,” Logano said. “We got to get our bodies a little bit better to be able to compete with those guys.”
Keselowski and Logano will see an extended advantage heading into the playoffs, with 16 and 11-points over the cutoff. Meanwhile, Blaney owns a four-point cushion over 13th thanks to his stage wins throughout the year.
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