Monday, March 23, 2015

Fontana a Victory for Team Penske

The race at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday was a big day for Team Penske on all counts.  Brad Keselowski picked up the victory while Joey Logano continued his record-breaking streak.  And they show no signs of slowing down.

Keselowski won the Auto Club 400 in exciting fashion.  He only led one lap, but it was the right one.  He ran fairly decent all day, but it wasn't until a caution late in the race when his crew chief Paul Wolfe made the call that got them the win.
Logano and Keselowski chat at Texas. (Photo courtesy Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

With two laps to go, debris brought out a caution that put the race in the pit crews' hands.  Most of the front-runners took two tires, but Keselowski and company decided to go with four.  When the race went back green, race-favorite Kurt Busch took the lead, and looked poised to win on two tires.  But when another caution came out, that set up Keselowski's improbable victory.

When the green flag came back out, Keselowski shot around Kevin Harvick and set his sights on Busch.  He was able to get around Busch in turns 1 and 2, while Greg Biffle spun on the frontstretch.  NASCAR did not throw a caution, as Biffle was able to drive off, and Keselowski was able to pick up his first victory of the season.

While Keselowski did not dominate the race, the victory shows that the No. 2 team will continue to make the right calls to pick up wins.  Keselowski and Wolfe have always made bold decisions, and now with a victory ensuring them a spot in the Chase, the duo will continue to risk it all for the win.

While his teammate was celebrating in victory lane, Logano was celebrating a new NASCAR record following a seventh place finish.

All the focus has been on Kevin Harvick, and deservedly so.  While he has been finishing first and second for eight consecutive races, Logano has been quietly racking up lead lap finishes.  Only Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon had ever finished on the lead lap for 21 consecutive races.  After the Auto Club 400, Logano is the only driver to have 22.

Logano's last finish off the lead lap was the Camping World RV Sales 301 on July 13, 2014.  He finished 40th after crashing out on lap 211 of 305.  Coincidentally, the winner of that race was Keselowski.

Team Penske is already firing on all cylinders in 2015 (well, except for Keselowski's blown engine at Daytona).  With Logano's Daytona 500 victory and Keselowski's win on Sunday, both teams are already locked into NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Even though the season is still young, it wouldn't surprise any NASCAR fans if the Penske duo were racing each other for the championship in Homestead.

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