Team Penske is leading the pack in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, with Brad Keselowki on 2097 points and Joey Logano on 2096. Logano took the checkered flag in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with his #22 Ford leading 73 laps, including the final 30 laps, of the race. Teammate Keselowski came in at seventh place on Sunday, nonetheless retaining the top spot in the standings. Kyle Larson took second place in the Sylvania 300, with Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray and Jimmie Johnson in third, fourth and fifth place respectively. The upcoming AAA400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28 will decide which four of the sixteen Chase drivers will be eliminated.
As his fourth victory of the season (and seventh in his career), Logano enters into the second elimination round in the new NASCAR format. Observers note that taking four tires on Lap 247 may have given Logano an edge, but after restarting 16th on Lap 251, he sped past Harvick and Keselowski on the Lap 274 restart to take the lead. In a post-race interview Logano noted that New Hampshire is his home race track and “the coolest place to win for me”.
Sunday’s race at New Hampshire featured 15 caution flags, and quite a number of drivers battled with mechanical failures and other issues. Having led 32 laps, Denny Hamlin’s #11 Toyota experienced a fueling problem which knocked him back four laps, and his efforts were further hampered when he was caught up in a multicar wreck on the 181st lap.
When the race ended, five Chase contenders were outside the top 20 – Kasey Kahne (23rd), Denny Hamlin (37th), Matt Kenseth (21st), Kurt Busch (36th) and Jeff Gordon (26th) – but remain in the running. Aric Almirola bounced back from his setback with engine failure at Chicagoland Speedway last week to finish in sixth place, keeping his Chase contender status.
Thrilled with his Nationwide victory at Chicagoland Speedway, Brad Keselowski appears determined to carry his current momentum through into the rest of the season, with his eye on the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. The fact that Carl Edwards ran out of gas on the Chicagoland pit road, gave Keselowski the break he needed to take the lead, which he kept to the end, crossing the finish line 8.568 seconds ahead of Edwards, and claiming his third win of the season.
Keselowski’s performance on Saturday was his first victory since he took first place at Indianapolis in July. Four days after Indianapolis, he broke his left ankle in an accident during a test run at Road Atlanta, and was forced to miss three scheduled races. Three weeks ago the defending Nationwide champion took first place just prior to the opening round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championships – referred to simply as The Chase. Keselowski has claimed one of the two wild-card spots to participate in this prestigious event, and is rumored to be considered as a serious contender by more experienced drivers.
In response to the speculation that he had the advantage in the Sprint Cup due to having missed on some of the Nationwide Series through his injury, Keselowski denied that this was the case. He noted that this erroneous viewpoint was unfair to a lot of people and not in line with the reality that the Penske Racing team members are working well together which contributed to the success.
Having taken second place after running out of fuel, Carl Edwards was reported as saying that he had a really good time racing with Brad Keselowski, and commended NASCAR for letting the race run its course following his fuel stop, rather than throwing a caution to bunch the field back together. He noted that this decision reinforced the organization’s credibility.
Brian Scott took third place at Chicagoland, and was reported as saying that racing with the Sprint Cup drivers is the best experience a Nationwide driver can have. He noted that his team performed well in a field full of Cup drivers and he was proud of the effort. Aric Almirola took fourth place with Sam Hornish Jnr coming in at fifth.
The Penske Racing team is owned and run by Roger Penske, and is an extremely diverse team. In previous years Penske Racing has taken part in CART, road racing and even Formula One, but presently they are concentrating on ARCA, the Indy Racing League, and last but not least, NASCAR.
Penske Racing’s involvement in Indy Car racing started in 1968 with a stock block-powered Eagle and a driver named Mark Donohue. In 1969 they competed for the first time at Indianapolis, and in the following three years they were the team that everyone kept their eye on. Donohue won the Indy 500 in 1972. Other team owners that were involved in USAC events, such as Indy Cars and Champ Cars, got together to form CART, which is the Champion Auto Racing Teams. The participating owners were Pat Patrick, Dan Gurney and of course, Roger Penske. By the time 2006 arrived, Penske Racing had many successes under their belt. Successes that included winning open wheel races in CART and IRL 124 times, winning the Indianapolis 500 an impressive 14 times, and winning 13 pole positions at the Indianapolis 500. Penske Racing also walked away ith 11 open wheel championships.
Due to an open wheel split following the CART season in 1995, the Penske Team was absent in the Indy 500 for five years. They announced their return in 2001. Which later led to Roger Penske leaving CART to race in the Indy Racing League. The open wheel racing division of the Penske Team has been located in Pennsylvania since the year 1973, but it was announced that following the 2006 IRL Season, that IRL and the team’s NASCAR operations will consolidate at the Penske facility in Mooresville, North Carolina. The operations had to be moved sooner than previously anticipated due to a flood in Pennsylvania in 2006.
This very successful team boasts 3 Sprint Cup Series cars, numbered 2, 12 and 77; as well as 2 Nationwide Series vehicles, numbered 12 and 22. Their IndyCar motor vehicles are numbered 3, 6 and 12; while the Grand-Am car is #12. Drivers for Penske Racing include Kurt Busch, Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, Brad Keselowski, Justin Allgaier, San Hornish Jr., and others.
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Robby Gordon Motorsports is owned by NASCAR racing driver Robby Gordon, fielding his #7 Monster Energy Drink/Polaris/Warner Music Nashville/Menards Toyota Camry. The team enjoys the support of millionaire entrepreneur, John R. Menard Jr., who helped Gordon finance the purchase of Ultra Motorsports from Jim Smith in 2005. In October 2006, RGM signed with Ford Racing to run the Ford Fusion for the 2007 season. Sponsors of the car included Jim Beam, Camping World, Monster Energy Drink and Mapei.
2008 was marked with conflict for RGM, involving penalties for a switch to the Dodge Charger in the preseason testing for the 2008 Daytona 500, a decision which was later reversed, putting the #7 Dodge at 21 in the Sprint Cup Standings. Later that same year GEM and RGM became involved in a lawsuit relating to a potential merger. The lawsuit was dropped, and Gordon switched from GEM to Penske Racing engines.
RGM switched manufacturers once again in 2009, fielding Toyota Camrys for the entire season. Continuing to field Camrys, in 2010 RGM aligned with BAM Racing and garnered extended sponsorship from Monster Energy Drink. BAM Racing’s sponsor, Warner Music Nashville, will sponsor the #7 Camry driven by Robby Gordon, starting with the California event and including events at Atlanta and Bristol. Current sponsors for RGM include Monster Energy Drink, Menards, Polaris and Warner Music Nashville.
The sport of NASCAR racing is one of the most popular in the United States. Fans flock to the racetracks in their thousands to cheer on their favourite driver, team or car number. Though one of the appeals of NASCAR racing is its relatively easy accessibility, often the best way for aspiring drivers to drive truly remarkable vehicles is to join an existing team. Teams that are well established usually have access to the best cars and parts with which to enhance their vehicles and ensure top-performance rides. These teams also enjoy good sponsorship which then again helps to draw in enough money to keep vehicles in tip-top shape.
There are currently a fair number of different NASCAR racing teams which are recognised for having successful cars and drivers. Fans may recognise names such as Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Racing, Evernham Racing and Phoenix Racing. Often NASCAR teams are started by drivers who eventually use a portion of their winnings to purchase their own vehicles and start their own teams. On other occasions these teams may be started by wealthy supporters of the sport who wish to get more involved even though they may not be much good behind the wheel.
Teams such as Joe Gibbs Racing and Robert Yates Racing have helped a number of drivers to reach the pinnacle of success. Other teams have become largely family affairs, such as Dale Earnheart Racing and Petty Enterprises. Ownership of these teams may be passed down from one generation to the next – or it may be a prime position in the driver’s seat which the next generation may inherit. Whichever way you look at it, racing teams are needed for the sport of NASCAR racing to function properly. It makes organisation of NASCAR events that much more regulated and standardised and it makes it easier for new and aspiring drivers to climb their way up in the ranks and show their true worth. Team cars usually sport, not only the car’s number, but also the sponsorship which has enabled the team to continue racing at the top of it’s game. Fans soon learn which team they like the most – and which drivers they’d like to see in the winner’s circle. Have a look at our brief description of NASCAR racing teams to learn a little more about each one.
- Bill Davis Racing
- Chip Ganassi Racing
- Competitive Edge Motorsports
- Dale Earnhardt Racing
- Evernham Motorsports
- Haas CNC Racing
- Hendrick Motorsport
- Joe Gibbs Racing
- Morgan McClure Motorsports
- Penske Racing
- Petty Enterprises
- Phoenix Racing
- Richard Childress Racing
- Robert Yates Racing
- Roush Racing
- Robby Gordon Racing