By Nick Lewis
In 2021, Team Penske is looking to replicate the success they had in 2020 but are looking to improve their points position by one and win the championship. Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano each made the Championship Four round, which was the first time the organization had more than one car in the championship round. While neither driver did not win the championship for Penske, the organization maintained consistency.
Keselowski has been consistent with three wins in each of the last three seasons while Logano has had at least two wins the past three seasons and Blaney has one victory in each of the last three seasons.
Keselowski, in particular, has a driver rating of over 100 at nine of his top ten best tracks, according to driveraverages.com. In recent years, he has statistically performed the best at Auto Club Speedway, Atlanta, Martinsville, Las Vegas and Richmond. With an average finishing position of under sixth at these racetracks, Keselowski is typically found at the front of the field contending for the win. He has 21 top fives across these tracks and 22 top 10’s with 1,093 laps led across the five tracks.
Brad is a well rounded driver who performs well on almost all types of race tracks. Like his teammates, he has found success at 1.5-mile tracks but he also thrives on tracks such as Richmond and Martinsville and the superspeedways of Daytona and Talladega. The addition of more road courses to the Cup Series schedule might be Brad’s kryptonite this season, as he has struggled at road courses in the Cup Series in the past three years. I expect Brad to get multiple wins again this season, most likely at a 1.5-mile track.
Similar to Keselowski, Logano is another well-rounded Team Penske driver who performs well at different types of race tracks. Logano has a driver rating of over 100 at his best five tracks on the NASCAR circuit, including his best track: Las Vegas. Logano has two wins in the last six races there, including the last two February races.
Logano also runs well at Richmond, Texas and Auto Club Speedway, much like his Team Penske teammates who typically perform well at these tracks. With 14 Top 5s and 20 Top 10s, Logano would often run inside the Top 10 but often not as high as Keselowski. Logano, however, has led more laps (1,174) than Keselowski at these tracks.
Logano can win at any type of track on the circui, especially road courses. He will most likely thrive on the new courses added to the schedule, but he may struggle at Sonoma and Watkins Glen as the 2018 and 2019 races there saw him struggle.
Ryan Blaney is has shown improvement since joining Team Penske, but he is still gaining the experience that Keselowski and Logano have gained in their careers. Getting a win each season since 2018, Blaney finished ninth in points in 2020, which was slightly down from seventh in points in 2019, but was still his fourth consecutive Top 10 points finish in Cup.
Blaney has two wins at Talladega and one win at the Charlotte Roval, which came back in 2018 when he netted himself his second career win. He has also run well at bigger tracks, especially 1.5-mile tracks, and is seen racing up front with his Penske teammates.
Statistically, Blaney also runs well at Martinsville, Texas, Auto Club and Charlotte. Blaney has 16 Top 5s and 17 Top 10s with 554 laps led. In March, Blaney won the first two stages at Auto Club before falling to 19th at the finish due to a tire going down.
Taking away Kentucky and one of the Texas races hurts Blaney because he performs well on 1.5-mile tracks and above. However, I would look for Blaney to win his races on a restrictor plate track, where Team Penske always performs well. I’d also place my money on winning at least one 1.5-mile track this year as it is where Blaney seems to run the most consistently well.
I’d expect the team to get at least six wins again this season with Keselowski and Logano getting the majority of them. However Blaney could be a surprise and get a couple wins this season as Team Penske improves their packages.
Overall, Team Penske should make another deep run in the Playoffs this year unless they have some misfortune.