Penske Racing gains strength

Editor’s note: As we get closer to the 2011 season-opening Daytona 500 (Feb. 20 on FOX), takes you along for the ride during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway.

From Monday through Thursday, we will provide an inside look at several NASCAR Sprint Cup teams taking part in the tour, including expert analysis from members of the NASCAR on FOX team.

I spent some time over at Penske Racing recently, and the people there are excited about the 2011 NASCAR season.

The organization will only be fielding two Sprint Cup cars this year – one for Kurt Busch and one for Brad Keselowski. Unfortunately, they were not able to put anything together for Sam Hornish Jr., so the third Cup team is no more.

Sometimes less is more. When Penske downsized, it tried to mix and match in order to beef up its two Cup teams.

I just think it is a good move on the team’s part.

Penske is realigning and better allocating its resources by focusing solely on Cup racing this year. There is a wealth of experience at Penske Racing. There is a lot of strength and depth under that roof. Owner Roger Penske now has a Nationwide championship under his belt. So it’s clear that he is focusing totally on taking it to the next level and winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

Kurt Busch and crew chief Steve Addington know how to win races. This move to put Brad with a new crew chief that he feels more comfortable with — his Nationwide Series championship crew chief will now lead the Cup team —  is a great move. Personally, I think Penske Racing is now stronger overall with only two teams than it was at this time last year with three teams.

There is simply no reason to believe that, with these changes, Penske Racing can’t have both cars in the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Once in the Chase, I also think it will be in a position to really challenge for a championship.


Inside Penske Racing

Team No. 2

Driver: Brad Keselowski (Finished 25th in the 2010 Sprint Cup standings, 1 career Cup win)

Crew chief: Paul Wolfe

Primary sponsor: Miller Lite (Check out their 2011 ride)


Team No. 22

Driver: Kurt Busch (Finished 11th in the 2010 Sprint Cup standings, 22 career Cup wins)

Crew chief: Steve Addington

Primary sponsor: Shell/Pennzoil (Check out their 2011 ride)