If you look at strictly the driver standings, you’d think that Team Penske was having a phenomenal season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski are both in the top four of the standings while Ryan Blaney is ninth. But, in all reality, despite having a great start to the year, they haven’t been knocking down the door of victory lane as much as they would have liked to by now.
Combined, they’ve won just one race in 2018 and that came at the Talladega Superspeedway. That race is a crap shoot anyways. Other than that, the race wins just haven’t been there. Logano, Keselowski and Blaney have been just consistent, but not yet dominant.
Logano, has 12 top 10 finishes in 15 starts in 2018. But, among those 12 top 10’s are just five top five finishes. He’s also only led 220 laps which ranks him 10th on the lap leaders chart heading into the off weekend.
Keselowski, has nine top 10 finishes but just five top five all year. He’s also only led 259 laps, which ranks him eighth on the year.
Blaney has led the most laps for them with 444, or third most in the series, but his finishes have tapered off. He only has eight top 10 finishes and just three top fives in 2018. As you can see, they’re all leading some laps and finishing in the top 10, but in terms of getting past fifth place, that’s where their biggest problems arise.
That’s all because of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. Combined, that trio has won 11 of the 15 races this season. Harvick and Busch have each scored 10 top five finishes a piece. Truex, has nine by himself too. When they’re consistently taking three of the top five finishing positions and leading as many laps as they have, then you’re really racing for fourth on back. In terms of fourth on back, no one is better than this Penske trio.
That leads me to believe that we need to watch out for them as the season goes on. You can’t keep a team like this down for much longer. It’s not like they don’t have speed, they just need a little bit more speed compared to only three other drivers. Penske is known to find the speed and also has the resources at their disposal to do so too. As the season nears the midway point, what happens if they find that extra couple of tenths? They could start rivaling the big three the rest of the way.
That’s why making future plays on the Penske group isn’t such a bad idea. I think all three could be in plays for a big end of the year.
Five times in 2018 they’ve all three finished inside the top 10, but among those five races, the best finisher in they hasn’t finished better than third. The speed is close and I think it can come on more in the near future.