Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano both rebounded from disappointing finishes last weekend at ISM Raceway, earning a pair of top-five results Sunday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway. The duo sits inside the top four in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points five races into the 2018 season.
However, the lack of speed could be concerning for Team Penske as a whole as the year continues. Their two Fords weren’t the only ones who struggled last weekend at ISM. Teammate Ryan Blaney has seen some falloff, along with semi-teammate Paul Menard. Could that mean the Fords are in for a rude awakening on the other side of Easter break?
Despite Keselowski and Logano’s success at Auto Club and in the first few races of the season, Keselowski thinks there’s room for improvement.
“Well, I think Kevin (Harvick) has been off to a great start,” he said. “The rest of us maybe just kind of so‑so. We haven’t really competed, I don’t feel like, for a win anywhere. We’ve been right in that fifth-to-10th range I think over the last four or five weeks. Maybe you could argue we’re capable of a lot more. We were capable of winning at Daytona. That turned into what it was. It’s still pretty early, but Kevin is making it look pretty easy when things go his way.”
On Sunday, Harvick fell short, a self-inflicted wound costing him a shot at four straight MENCS victories. But another Ford was unable to take his place up front. Only Logano (nine laps led) was able to briefly sneak through for the Blue Oval crowd.
Following the conclusion of the west coast swing, the series heads to Martinsville Speedway next weekend. A short track isn’t a true test of speed and aerodynamics, but after the Easter break, the series returns at 1.5-mile tri-oval Texas Motor Speedway. That race will be the first opportunity for teams to take what they learned out west and put it on the cars, which could mean different drivers finding their way to the front.
So while Team Penske has started off strong, Keselowski’s point rings true. The next month will be about who took the right notes during the first four races of the season. Good ones could translate into strong runs and victories for an organization, while bad adjustments could translate into sub-par finishes and prayers teams can make NASCAR’s Playoff on points. It’s a pattern Penske knows all too well after Logano’s slip from contention after last April’s Richmond win.
True contenders will be revealed following the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 next month at Texas.
About the author
His favorite tracks on the circuit include Barber Motorsports Park, Iowa Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, and Bristol Motor Speedway.
During the season, Christian also spends time as a photographer with multiple other outlets shooting Monster Energy AMA Supercross, Minor League & Major League Baseball, and NCAA Football.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.