Drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano both point to the continuity between themselves and their teams as a factor in the success of Team Penske
Team Penske ship coasting smoothly with pair of symbiotic drivers Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Related: Keselowski announces big baby news For Team Penske , an organization that combined to rake in 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins with a two-car effort last season, the logical focus for 2015 is continuity, or -- in more plain-spoken terms -- not fixing what isn't broken. But that objective extends beyond mechanical aspects and manpower; it's also about relationships. The core of chemistry between full-time drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano remains a touchstone for Team Penske as it tries to forge another deep run in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. Keselowski enters his sixth full season with team owner Roger Penske , eager to qualify for the championship round after 2014's near-miss. It's a place that Logano, set for his third year at Penske , knows well after his first experience racing for the title in the Homestead-Miami Speedway finale last season. While Penske saw the competitive nature of both drivers manifest itself in hard-nosed racing, Keselowski's six victories and Logano's five, he also saw a mutual reliance that benefited the team from within. "I would say when you look at where the sport is today and how competitive it is, when you see guys that can race side-by-side, almost like brothers, and have that success is amazing," Penske said during last week's Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. "They worked off each other's notebooks, they looked at the data and quite honestly, spent time off the race track together, and I think they had high trust with each other. You saw that on the race track, and to me, that was a big piece of the success." The camaraderie between teammates, especially outside the race-track cocoon, hasn't always been a constant on Penske's driver roster. The current two-driver balance, however, seems to work -- so much so that Keselowski was hesitant to pull back the curtain with details on his bond with Logano, out of fear that the resultant competitive edge might be lost. Like any relationship, the pairing isn't always cream and sugar, Keselowski said, but any hiccups in their communication have been minimal. "Our teammate relationship has been phenomenal. Certainly, it's had some highs and lows -- sometimes one week apart -- but I couldn't be happier," Keselowski said with a laugh. "He's done a great job for the program, and he's really taken us from having one car that's performed and the second one that hasn't, to having two consistent threats at Team Penske , and that's a huge accomplishment for him and something we're glad to have." For Logano, one of the biggest perks to joining the Penske fold in 2013 has been his exposure to fresh ideas. Working with Keselowski has produced some unorthodox lines of thinking, but it's a path that's helped Logano and the rest of the team expand its minds. "Brad's helped me a lot, kind of thinking outside the box," Logano said. "He's a little bit out there and he comes up with these different ideas that are like, 'Why even think that way?' That's so different, and I love having that there at Team Penske . He's thinking of something different than I'm thinking about, and I think that's good. That pushes me to think that way. I think that's one of the biggest things I've taken from him." MORE: Keselowski unapologetic for aggressive driving style The rate at which Team Penske collected checkered flags in 2014, coupled with last year's heartache at seeing championship goals fizzle, has redoubled the teammates' appetite for more prosperity this season. But so has the knowledge that the team's makeup will largely remain unchanged over the offseason. If Team Penske can cash in on its continuity early with a season-opening victory in the Daytona 500 (Feb. 22, 1 p.m. ET, FOX), Keselowski said it could serve as a springboard to an even bigger surge. "We have a tremendous amount of anticipation," Keselowski said. "We're returning all of our key people -- in fact, we've added some more people -- to be even better, so I see our team only growing. I look at Daytona with probably the most anticipation I've ever had, coming off a win (last fall) at Talladega, a very similar track, and I know our program has only gotten better. I want to win the Daytona 500 out of the gate, and I think we have the team to do it." MORE: Season preview: Joey Logano FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Primary sponsor to continue as key partner for team Team Penske has reached a multiyear extension with Discount Tire, which will remain a primary sponsor for the team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and serve as an associate sponsor for both the Nos. 2 and 22 Ford Fusions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series . The terms of the deal were not disclosed. "We are happy to be extending our relationship with Team Penske into 2015 and beyond," said Michael Zuieback, president of Discount Tire. "They've been a loyal ambassador of the Discount Tire brand since we began our relationship with them in 2010." In 2014, Team Penske earned its second consecutive Nationwide Series Owners' Championship with Discount Tire on board. In 2013, the No. 22 team compiled 12 Nationwide Series wins with four different drivers: Brad Keselowski , Joey Logano , Ryan Blaney and AJ Allmendinger . In 2010, it won the Nationwide Series championship with Keselowski. "The on-track success that we have shared with Discount Tire has been remarkable over the last few years," team owner Roger Penske said. "Discount Tire has been an important part of our championship runs as a key sponsor of the No. 22 team in 2014 as well as our other title-winning seasons in 2010 and 2013." The 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series season will begin on Saturday, Feb. 21 at Daytona International Speedway . MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Team Penske's history, rosters for Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano's teams
Coming off an 11 win season in 2014, Team Penske looks to continue their success in 2015 by focusing on the team aspect rather than each individual race car.
After Texas brawl, team owner backs 2012 champion in statement MORE: See the scuffle " Keselowski reacts " NASCAR to review RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Brad Keselowski may have heard a raucous response from fans at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday evening, but Monday he received a thorough show of support from the venerable team owner signing his checks. Roger Penske gave Keselowski a vote of confidence less than 24 hours after a frantic finish touched off a post-race brawl in the Lone Star State. The Team Penske driver finished third in the AAA Texas 500 to keep his title hopes alive in the first year of the new-look Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, but his on-track methods angered Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick , who both initiated physical contact with the championship contender on pit road. Monday, Penske backed his driver. "The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has provided great excitement and intense competition," Penske said in a statement released by the team . " Brad Keselowski is a champion who competes to win in every race, which is what I expect of him. While the actions by others following the race in Texas were unfortunate, Brad has my 100 percent support as we now move on to Phoenix for the next stage of the NASCAR championship." The 77-year-old racing magnate's remarks substantiated those of Keselowski in his post-race media availability. "A lot of my strength personally comes from my team , whether that's the guys who work on the team or my boss, Roger Penske ," Keselowski said Sunday night. "If Roger Penske came up to me tomorrow and said, 'Brad, you drove that race wrong, you shouldn't have done what you did,' it would affect me. But the management team at Penske tells me to drive the way I did and tells me there's nothing to be ashamed of and continues to support me. And they're my boss. My boss isn't the other drivers in the field. My boss is them. "As long as they're on my side, I feel strong and I feel proud and encouraged to continue." Keselowski dove to the inside of Gordon's car during a restart in a green-white-checkered finish in the late stages Sunday, and the two cars made contact. Gordon took the worst of it, cutting down a tire and spinning out to spiral to a 29th-place finish, worst among the title-eligible Chase drivers. Gordon parked alongside Keselowski's car after the cool-down lap as the crews of both teams engaged in a bitter shouting match. The fracas intensified after Harvick scooted Keselowski closer to Gordon's reach, and both crews became more active in the scrum. It's the second such incident involving Keselowski in this year's Chase. At Charlotte in October, Keselowski's No. 2 Ford came in contact with three other cars on the cool-down lap, and rival Matt Kenseth physically confronted him in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage. The eight remaining Chase drivers -- Keselowski, Gordon, Harvick and Kenseth included -- tackle this Sunday's Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN) at Phoenix International Raceway . The finale to the Chase's Eliminator Round will whittle the championship-eligible field from eight drivers to four. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Importance of Nationwide Series not lost on team owner MORE: Final Nationwide Series owner standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Chase Elliott salted away his first championship last weekend at Phoenix, rendering the NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers' standings race anticlimactic for Saturday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . But a little suspense still lingered on the team owners' side. In the end, Brad Keselowski wheeled the Team Penske's No. 22 Ford to the Nationwide Series team owner championship in the Ford EcoBoost 300 . Keselowski needed only to finish 25th or better to seal the title over Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 54 Toyota team ; he wound up in eighth place compared to Kyle Busch 's second in the JGR entry, clinching Roger Penske's second straight crown by 23 points. "It's obvious the Nationwide (Series) means so much to us because it's the proving ground," said the 77-year-old Penske . "It's the testing ground for our crew chiefs, young drivers. And there's no question, when you see Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson and the people who come up through that series, it means a lot to us, but it also ‑‑ the mechanics and the over-the-wall guys that we train there." Last season, Penske's No. 22 prevailed in the season-long team owner championship hunt by just one point over the Gibbs No. 54. This year, the Team Penske entry prevailed with a larger margin, but an equally diverse cast of drivers in the seat. Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski piloted the No. 22 to five victories in his 11 starts, and Ryan Blaney notched one win among his 10 appearances behind the wheel. Joey Logano (nine starts), Alex Tagliani (two) and Michael McDowell (one) shared the rest of the driving duties. The common thread was crew chief Jeremy Bullins, who kept strong performances a constant while adapting to several different drivers. "I'm proud to be a part of it," Keselowski said. "It's a season-long task, so it's not a one-night accomplishment, it's a lot of different things. Quite a few different drivers in this car and I'm honored to be one of them. I feel like I contributed to the program, I don't know, but it's a lot of fun and the team does a great job. You kind of take these things for granted sometimes, having great cars and great teams, and I'm trying not to. It's a very pleasurable experience. I've been at the other side of this where I didn't have great cars and life was really tough, but we've had a season of great cars and I'm thankful for that." Busch and Sam Hornish Jr . shared the seat of the Gibbs No. 54 this season, with Busch notching seven victories and Hornish one. Although placing as a runner-up in Saturday's race and in the team owner standings was bittersweet, Busch was pleased with the overall effort. "It's been fun the last couple of years," Busch said. "You know we've come up short just a little bit last year by one point, a little bit more than that this year, but, shoot, besides winning more races, finishing every single race in the top four besides (Daytona), I don't know what else I could have done. We did our part and we had some great races, and we did have a successful year, so nothing to hang our hats about, but there's one other guy or team out there that was a little bit better than us." Said Gibbs: "Yeah, you've got to give them credit. The Penske group, you've got to give them a lot of credit and what they did there. They put a lot of drivers in the car and raced great. We had just a couple of bad situations that happened to us which cost us again. We don't like it, but we're committed to come back and try to go after it again. We appreciate getting an opportunity to race against real good race teams, and when you do that, you've got a chance to come out on the short end. Like I said, we love the series. We're going to be back next year roaring." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Team owner: 'I think it's going to be a level playing field' in finale RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- The little needling comments that Kevin Harvick has lofted out this week to potentially tweak championship rival Joey Logano ahead of the season-ending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race have made for interesting exchanges -- some humorous, some awkward. Roger Penske , Logano's venerable team owner, said on the eve of the season finale that the barbs ring hollow. "I respect him a lot," Penske said of Harvick, noting his hometown connection with famed IndyCar racer Rick Mears, a Penske legend. "But I can tell you this, that 24‑year‑old Joey Logano , no one gets in his head. You could see that when he got down last week in Phoenix. We're standing behind him." Harvick and Logano will vie for their first Sprint Cup crown in Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN) with Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman , who are also seeking their first Sprint Cup Series championship. Harvick's opening salvo of remarks began in Wednesday's Media Day for the Championship 4 and continued Friday in a post-qualifying media session from Homestead-Miami Speedway . The talk stops Sunday with the drop of the green flag, and Penske said he expects Logano to be firmly in the mix. "To me he's going to be one of the guys that are going to have to get beat," Penske said. "Harvick is going to have to beat him to win. I think it's going to be a level playing field, and the best guy is going to win." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Driver has won a career-best four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2014 RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize In the midst of a career-best season, Joey Logano has signed a new "multi-year" agreement with Team Penske , the team announced Thursday. Logano will continue to pilot the No. 22 Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the No. 22 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Nationwide Series under the terms of the deal. " Joey Logano has been everything we hoped he would be, both as a driver and as a representative of our organization and for our partners," team owner Roger Penske said. "He continues to put points on the board for us and the continuity and chemistry he has developed within the team has been terrific. We believe he can be a leader and championship-level driver for Team Penske for years to come." Logano is currently second in the points standings and, with his win last week at New Hampshire, has guaranteed himself a spot in the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He has four wins, 12 top-fives and 17 top-10s this year. "I am fortunate and excited to be a part of Team Penske for the foreseeable future," Logano said. "Mr. Penske gives us everything we need to keep our eye on the prize and compete for wins and championships. I think that is clear by the number of wins we have across the board this year. "I'm fortunate to represent great companies like Ford, Shell-Pennzoil, AAA, AutoTrader.com, Discount Tire, Hertz and all of the great partners we have here at Team Penske . I think our best years are in front of us for sure." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Team owner Roger Penske talks about how special it is to win his second DAYTONA 500.