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Team Penske's history, rosters for Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano's teams
Team Penske 2016 Team Preview
Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski are both coming off sensational 2015 seasons. With Ryan Blaney running full time in the Sprint Cup Series, the three drivers have high expectations of winning the championship for Team Penske .
Keselowski leads Penske 1-2 in first Vegas practice
RELATED: Full practice results Brad Keselowski landed the fastest lap in opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . Keselowski powered the Team Penske No. 2 Ford to a best speed of 195.327 mph on the 1.5-mile track. He was just nine thousandths of a second ahead of Penske teammate Joey Logano , who registered a 195.263 mph lap in the No. 22 Ford. Hometown favorite Kurt Busch was third-fastest, pushing the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet to a 195.235 mph lap. Paul Menard was fourth-fastest and Brian Vickers -- subbing for the injured Tony Stewart -- fifth-fastest in preparation for Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the third premier-series race of the season. Defending race winner Kevin Harvick was seventh-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet. Jimmie Johnson , last week's winner at Atlanta and a four-time victor in Vegas, posted the eighth-fastest lap in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet. Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin clocked the 13th-fastest lap in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota. He logged his speed in a reserve car after spinning and smacking the wall in his primary Toyota during Thursday's test session. The 85-minute session went caution-free, but had its share of close calls. Menard scraped the wall with his Richard Childress Racing No. 27 Chevrolet on the exit of Turn 4. Kasey Kahne slid up out of the groove in Turns 1 and 2 with his Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevy, but avoided contact.
Blaney backs up Penske's 1-2 punch in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS -- It was a happy day for Wood Brothers Racing driver Ryan Blaney as the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate finished sixth in the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway , his best showing through three races in 2016. That it came on a day when Team Penske -- which has a technical alliance with Wood Brothers Racing -- finished 1-2 with Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano made it more meaningful. Since the teams joined forces in late 2014, Blaney has gone from a developmental driver, to part-time, to full-time in the No. 21 Ford and has learned a lot from his Penske peers. "Our cars are extremely fast and the Wood Brothers do a great job, and we can't thank Penske enough for their support," Blaney said. "You see the 2 car won the race and the 22 finished second; we were right there. The teams are growing together and learning and so am I, so hopefully this is a good way to get our season going, here." Beginning in 2012, for 58 races Blaney piloted the No. 29 in the Camping World Truck Series, a truck owned by Keselowski. The Kobalt 400 victor began his mentoring of Blaney then. "He drove my truck for a while, so there was a lot of mentoring there," Keselowski said. "Mostly over the form of, 'Please don't wreck it, I can't afford to fix it.' Now I think he's got the right people around him with (No. 21 crew chief) Jeremy Bullins and the Wood Brothers and a lot of help and support there. I'm certainly willing to help him whenever I can, but I don't think he needs me. I just think he needs some time." Blaney started the 2016 season qualifying seventh for the Daytona 500 , a restrictor-plate track where he's shown strength. However, with his 19th-place finish there, followed by his 25th-place finish last week at Atlanta, his Las Vegas run was more on-par with where many expected the 22-year-old to be as a full-time Sprint Cup Series driver. "Especially after Atlanta last week, getting spun out on the last lap, that kind of got us down a lot," Blaney said. "To come here and have a solid run all day really ups the team's spirits." Blaney and the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing team head to Phoenix International Raceway next weekend, a 1-mile track that the driver has never raced at in NASCAR's elite series.
Team Penske extends Autotrader partnership
Team Penske announced a multi-year partnership extension with Autotrader on Thursday. A website that allows consumers to shop for cars online, Autotrader will adorn both the Nos. 2 and 22 Sprint Cup Series cars of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano , respectively. "We are fortunate to expand our relationship with Autotrader beginning in 2016," team owner Roger Penske said in a release. "The entire Autotrader team has embraced motorsports and the marketing opportunities that racing brings over the last couple of years and we are excited that they view Team Penske as a long-term partner. As Penske Automotive Group continues to work with Autotrader to promote our vehicles, we look forward to bringing Autotrader to Victory Lane with our cars and help them build their brand along the way." Keselowski will feature the brand for the first time in his career on his No. 2 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Feb. 28 and Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 20, while Logano will run an Autotrader scheme on April 17 at Bristol and a co-branded No. 22 with Autotrader/Shell-Pennzoil at Kentucky Speedway on July 9. The brand -- which has sponsored Team Penske since 2014 -- will also serve as an associate sponsor throughout the 2016 season. Both Keselowski and Logano will participate in the season-opening Sprint Unlimited non-points race, which takes place Feb. 13 at Daytona International Speedway .
Penske power evident in XFINITY owner's title
Team owner Roger Penske's NASCAR XFINITY Series operation last won the driver's championship in 2010 with Brad Keselowski , but the organization's No. 22 team has gone undefeated for three consecutive years when it comes to the owner's title. Ryan Blaney , Sprint Cup Series drivers Keselowski and Joey Logano and road racer Alex Tagliani each piloted the No. 22 Ford this season, collecting seven of the organization's eight wins in the series. "I think it's an investment," Penske said of the XFINITY Series program. "It's an investment on pit road for building guys over the wall, point number one, and point number two, to take a young driver like Blaney and get him in a car. "The top driver is just not available when you need him, so you've got to build him. You've seen what (Jeff) Gordon and (Jimmie) Johnson and all the great drivers (have done)." The No. 22 team ended the season with 1,308 points, 117 ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing 's No. 54 Toyota entry and 118 ahead of the No. 60 Ford of Roush Fenway Racing . Roush Fenway Racing driver Chris Buescher clinched the 2015 driver's title. JGR finished second to Penske in '13-14 in the battle for the owner's title as well. Blaney has split his time between the XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season, competing in Sprint Cup with Wood Brothers Racing . The No. 21 team will run the full 36-race schedule next season. Team Penske and the Wood Brothers outfit have a technical alliance. "From the standpoint of sponsorship, Discount Tire has been with us almost from the beginning," Penske said. "They like the XFINITY Series. They think it gives them exactly what they want. To me we've got a good sponsor. "We only run one car, occasionally we run two maybe at Watkins Glen, but to me I think it's an important part of our organization. Running two Cup cars and having the ability to work with the (Wood Brothers) I think helps us build that team , and we can move people back and forth, and then of course with the XFINITY , it's really the early stages of young guys that are coming into the sport and people that can make a difference. "You know, there's just no question that the people have moved up (to Sprint Cup ). Everybody that's at the top level today in our Cup cars have won and worked in the XFINITY Series, so I think that that's amazing when you think about it."
After 50 years, no end in sight for Roger Penske
RELATED: Best quotes from Charlotte Media Tour CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Team Penske kicked off its 50th season Wednesday night with a private function in the Crown Ballroom of the Charlotte Convention Center. Forty-two drivers, all Penske people at one time or another, from the open-wheel, stock car and road racing ranks were among the 1,000 or so expected to be on hand to help team owner Roger Penske celebrate the milestone. The white-haired, soon-to-be 79-year-old Penske has no plans to go gently into the night, however. "I don't know when I'm going to leave the sport. It will probably be pretty abrupt when I do," Penske said during the second day of the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. "I'm counting on this legacy will continue on. "My sons and our family love the sport, it's a … common thread through the company so there's no reason not to be involved. If we can sustain the sponsorship and the key people stay with us and will continue to help us we can go on forever and I don't see any reason we can’t do that." In NASCAR, Penske teams have won 147 times, including 93 in the premier series. Brad Keselowski , who along with Joey Logano makes up the organization's Sprint Cup lineup, scored Penske's first NASCAR premier series title in 2012. His organization has won 181 times in IndyCar, a total that includes 16 victories in the Indianapolis 500. "His work ethic is what you would expect from a 25-year-old man and then some," Keselowski said. "There have been countless times where I wake up in the morning, slept longer than (normal) and the first thing that enters my mind is 'Gosh, Roger beat me to work by a long way.' "He motivates me to work harder. He pushes me in direction that I didn't think of before. He has such a deep understanding on so many levels of what it takes to be successful that I find myself constantly trying to emulate him. … "He really just amazes me more than anything else with some of the things he does." In addition to Keselowski and Logano, among those finding NASCAR success with Penske have been Mark Donohue (the organization's first stock-car winner), NASCAR Hall of Fame members Bobby Allison and Rusty Wallace, as well as Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch . RELATED: See some of Penske's best drivers through the years His lieutenants ensure that his racing entities run like clockwork and although racing is just one of his many successful business endeavors it has proven to be a crucial part. "Racing has given me the opportunity to compete on a world-wide stage," he said. "It shows execution, it shows we can handle adversity … there's no question that the partnerships that I've been able to generate with the OEMS from my business have been amazing. Without racing I would have never had the connection in the automobile business and that’s really the heart of my company." The focus on the 50th year celebration has generated much interest among those inside the organization and helped fill in a picture for those who have been part of the amazing run. "It seems like I learn a little more every day as we've gone through talking about the … anniversary," Paul Wolfe, crew chief for Keselowski, said. "And being able to be a part of things with Rusty and Rick (Mears) and just all the amazing people that have been able to work and be a part of the history with Penske , I'm just a small part of that. I'm fortunate that I've been able to." Success in the stock car ranks came slowly and Penske left the series briefly, from 1978-79, before returning for two races with Wallace in 1980. The return was short-lived; he left again and didn't return for a decade. With IROC, Can-Am, IndyCar, "and some sports car stuff," Penske said, "our plate was full. And costs were escalating." "Everybody in the world wanted to drive for Roger," Wallace said. "For me to be able to drive the car in 1980, I thought that was my big break and that I had made it." Wallace returned nearly 10 years later, in '91, with much more experience and a championship under his belt. And Penske was ready. The organization hasn't missed a step since. A celebration of five decades covers a lot of ground. But Penske insists the end isn't in sight. "I will be at the races as long as I can stand up," he said. "We're there for one reason and that's to win."
Penske ’s practice pullover propels Blaney
Team Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski headed out late in practice on Saturday to draft with Ryan Blaney to help the No. 21 of Blaney improve his speed to try and earn him a spot in the DAYTONA 500, if weather plays a role later in Speed
Tony Stewart cuts tire in first Sprint Cup race of 2016
MORE: Full race results " Top moments for Stewart " Recap all his wins Tony Stewart had a tire go down in his first race back behind the wheel of his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway . On Lap 268 of 400, Stewart and Team Penske driver Joey Logano made contact, cutting the left-rear tire of the No. 14 to bring out the caution. The three-time premier series champion was running 21st and one lap down at the time of the incident. Logano got the free pass as a result of the caution. Earlier in the race, Stewart was battling hard with then-race leader and eventual race winner Carl Edwards to stay on the lead lap. "We got the lap down there," Stewart said after the race. "I got a lap down and almost drove back by and got my lap back. But Carl (Edwards) was strong. I knew I wasn't going to be able to hang on long, but I was going to hold on as long as I could and hope we got a caution." Stewart would get back on the lead lap thanks to earning the free pass on the Lap 325 caution. "Smoke" would go on to finish in 19th place. Of his day back behind the wheel Stewart said, "It was fun. I had a good time and I'm looking forward to running the rest of this year with these guys." RELATED: Whose restart did 'Smoke' describe as 'sexy'?
All Access: Texas woes for Team Penske
From Joey Logano's early issues to Brad Keselowski getting passed late by Jimmie Johnson, take an inside look at the team communication from Team Penske at Texas Motor Speedway.