Turning heads: Penske, Hendrick among season’s fast starters
Even though we are only two races into the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, I have been impressed by the performance of Team Penske. If you look at our first five NASCAR on FOX races, we are talking about five completely different-style racetracks. They are all different shapes and sizes.
So when we leave Auto Club Speedway in about a month, we will have a pretty good picture, even this early in the season, of who is good, who is has some more work to do and who is in trouble. Anytime there is a rule change or changes like we had in the offseason, historically there are always one or two organizations that are able to get their arms around it quickly and they jump out front.
At least this early in the season, it looks like the Hendrick camp, the Hendrick-affiliated teams and the Penske camps have clearly latched onto it the quickest. Now this weekend at our third different-style track I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see some other organization come to the front.
After what I saw at Phoenix, I think the Roush Fenway Fords and the Toyotas of Michael Waltrip Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing still have some work to do. Two teams that do need some recognition, I think, are Aric Almirola in the Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, and Casey Mears who has had two great back-to-back runs in that No. 13 car.