Team Preview: Team Penske
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on February 8, 2014 | 5:00 P.M. EST
Despite some success last year, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are looking for better results this season. (Photo: Getty Images)
It’s easy to skip over the highlights for Team Penske last season and look at the low points because there were many.
Reigning champ missed the Chase, team’s other Sprint Cup driver involved in last-lap incident where a competitor was injured, multiple penalties, mechanical issues, inconsistent pit stops and more.
While those were issues the team faced, there were some highlights. Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano each won a race, and Logano finished higher than any other Ford driver in the points (eighth).
That’s not enough at Team Penske where excellence is expected. The focus this season is to fix the issues from last season and move ahead.
“We need to get to the top and it’s up to us as teams,’’ car owner Roger Penske said. “The rules are the same for all of us and what we need to do is execute.’’
Team: Team Penske
Drivers: Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford) and Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)
Crew Chiefs: Paul Wolfe (Keselowski) and Todd Gordon (Logano)
2 - Keselowski became only the second reigning champion to miss the Chase in the Chase era.
6 - Top-five finishes for Logano on 1.5-mile tracks, second in the series behind Matt Kenseth, who had seven top-five finishes (and four wins) on those tracks.
31 - Points Keselowski lost because of penalties last year (he missed making the Chase by 22 points).
A new nose for Ford will help prevent trash covering the grille and should do away with the overheating issues Team Penske faced early last year. A former college wresting coach has been brought into to overhaul an inconsistent pit crew and Keselowski said the culture already has changed in that department.
What They’re Saying
Logano: “We have a lot to be proud of but eighth place (in the points) is nothing to be proud of at the same time. I feel like I have a legit shot at winning the championship this year, and I don’t see anything stopping us but ourselves.’’
Keselowski: “I want to be a multi-time champion. I think I have the team, certainly owner and the sponsors to do it. Just got to put all the pieces together. If you need any more motivation than that, you don’t deserve the seat I’m in.’’
Keys To Season
Team needs to be stronger. That’s not just a better pit crew but also better in the shop to avoid some of the mechanical issues that plagued both cars at times last year. That doesn’t mean everything had to be changed. Only three drivers had more top-five finishes than Logano last season, so Team Penske isn’t far off. Even Keselowski noted that the organization didn’t need to make major changes.
It’s hard to imagine Team Penske being off a second year in a row, especially Keselowski. Logano is becoming the driver many thought he might become years earlier. This could provide a potent combination. Don’t discount this team.