With 10 races remaining within the Monster Vitality NASCAR Cup Sequence common season, Group Penske is trying to put all three of its automobiles within the championship-determining, 10-race playoff.
That will be a primary for the group and a primary for proprietor Roger Penske, whose historical past within the collection dates again to 1972.
The collection heads to Chicagoland Speedway this weekend for Sunday’s Overton’s 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) with Penske drivers Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney third, fourth and 11th in factors, respectively.
Provided that solely six drivers have received at the very least one race this 12 months, the 16-team playoff discipline will seemingly be crammed with drivers who qualify primarily based on their factors positions along with those that have made it to victory lane.
Which is nice information in the meanwhile for a lot of harboring hopes of a playoff spot.
The Penske trio have mixed for 12 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes by this season’s 16 factors races. However solely a single win.
“I believe we’ve been aggressive,” Penske mentioned Wednesday. “Blaney has had some good runs, Brad and Joey (as properly.)
“We’ve been the perfect automobiles, I believe, on the superspeedways. Not unhealthy (elsewhere). The way in which I take a look at it, we’ve obtained the identical automobiles that Stewart-Haas Racing has; they’ve been capable of execute.”
Group Penske is certainly one of six organizations that discipline Ford entries in Cup and has been with the automaker since 2013.
SHR, which fields 4 groups with drivers Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick, made the transfer from Chevrolet to Ford in 2017. Since then, its drivers have received 10 instances, together with seven this season.
Blaney has a high end of third at Martinsville this 12 months, the place he led 145 laps; he additionally led 100 at Bristol (Tenn.).
Keselowski, the 2012 collection champ, completed second at Atlanta and was out entrance at Dover for 108 laps.
Logano picked up the win at Talladega Superspeedway and has hardly ever completed exterior the highest 10 this season.
However the victories have been virtually non-existent.
“I’m by no means relaxed – I believe that we’ve obtained some extra work to do however my aim is to get them within the playoffs,” Penske, 81, mentioned. “I do know our automobiles are getting higher; we’ll see what occurs this week in Chicago as a result of we’re bringing higher stuff each week.
“Whether or not we’re behind Stewart-Haas, I don’t know that. Clearly if you take a look at the numbers they’ve finished an awesome job and that’s additionally good for Ford. Significantly better than individuals might need wager on.”
Blaney has solely two begins in Cup on the 1.5-mile observe however completed fourth in his 2016 debut whereas Logano has completed inside the highest 10 in 5 of his final six begins at Chicagoland. Included in that run was a second-place lead to ’16.
Keselowski is a two-time winner there (2012, ’14) and has a powerful run of seven consecutive finishes of seventh or higher.
• Penske mentioned there whereas “every part might be higher” with regard to the general well being of NASCAR, it’s additionally time of transition for the game.
His view, he mentioned, is that “the glass is half full, not half empty.”
“ They’re discussing the foundations and totally different aero packages; the price issues are all the time there for all of the house owners,” Penske mentioned. “I believe that because the crew house owners, those which have the charters, they’re locked in step from the standpoint of the best way we talk about and function with NASCAR. I believe (NASCAR) has finished job reaching out to us in a means that we will function as professionals. … The automobile house owners and NASCAR proceed to have a look at what we’ve got to do to be higher. …
“I might say this, from a sponsor standpoint we’ve got had extra curiosity these days than we’ve got had in numerous years. Now it’s not on a giant $20 million sponsors however there are lots of people who see it nonetheless as a means for buyer leisure, a approach to do the enterprise to enterprise that we might do and I believe that’s been fairly efficient.”
• This would be the first time the collection has run at Chicagoland in July since 2010. The observe hosted the second race of the playoffs every September from 2011-17.