As the Sprint Cup regular season came to a close at Richmond, Team Penske is in a situation similar to what it has been in over the past couple seasons. Both Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have wins, securing Chase positions for each driver.
Through 26 races in the 2016 season, the duo has a combined five victories. Keselowski is tied with Kyle Busch for a series-leading four triumphs. Keselowski and Logano both have at least 10 top-5 finishes and 17 top 10s. Additionally, the pair has led 831 laps, more than the likes of Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing and Roush Fenway Racing combined.
Last season, the new Chase format bit Team Pesnke as both drivers were eliminated in the third round of the Chase following Phoenix. This year the focus for the organization was the unfinished business from 2015.
“I feel like we are in a pretty similar spot,” Logano told Frontstretch. “We’re down a couple wins from where we were last year, but I don’t feel like we are far off. We have decent speed. I feel like our speed has gotten better throughout the season, especially in the last month or so we’ve gotten faster compared to the field.”
In 2015, Logano led the Cup Series with six victories, including a clean sweep of the second round of the Chase at Charlotte, Kansas and Talladega. This year, the driver of the No. 22 car has one victory coming at Michigan in June, where he led 138 laps after starting from pole.
In Logano’s breakout season, he led 1,431 laps total, 569 of which came in the final 10 races. But in his fourth season driving for Roger Penske, he thinks this could be his best shot at winning a title.
“Our pit crew is in a good spot and our team is good,” Logano said. “As far as the No. 22 team, I think we are where we need to be. A few cars are better than they were last year at this point, so I look for them to compete until the end with us.”
In 2014, the first year of the new Chase format, Logano had two victories in the playoffs, which vaulted him into the championship race at Homestead-Miami. In that race, it could be argued that his pit crew let him down, ultimately costing the then 24-year-old his first title in NASCAR’s top division.
Logano and the No. 22 crew are looking to hit its stride of winning races, such as last year. The team was victorious in five of the final 14 races last season, starting at Watkins Glen in August and two weeks later at Bristol.
“It will be interesting, for sure, but I think as a whole Team Penske is better than last year,” Logano said. “If you look at the No. 22 team, we’re probably the same as we were last year, which was good because we won a lot of races and had a shot at the championship. We hope to be in that spot again.”
Logano has victories at half of the tracks, and has often admitted that Dover is his favorite racetrack on the circuit, though, he has never tamed the Monster Mile in a Sprint Cup car. He is well on his way of hitting the 22 top 10s mark, something that he has done in each of the last two seasons.
But what the Connecticut native is missing at this point of his career is a Cup Series championship, something that could be coming to him in just 10 weeks time.
About the author
Dustin joined the Frontstretch team at the beginning of the 2016 season. 2020 marks his sixth full-time season covering the sport that he grew up loving. His dream was to one day be a NASCAR journalist, thus why he attended Ithaca College (Class of 2018) to earn a journalism degree. Since the ripe age of four, he knew he wanted to be a storyteller.
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