For the first time in several seasons, the number 12 will run for Team Penske. After a solid start with the Wood Bros., Ryan Blaney will join a stable that already includes Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.
There once was a time when Roush Racing was the class of the field for Ford. Since switching over from Dodge, Team Penske is now the standard bear for the Blue Oval, with all apologies to Stewart-Haas, who didn’t fare poorly after leaving Chevrolet. Roger Penske has long been known as “The Captain,” and he runs a tight ship.
With arrival of Blaney, Team Penske gets an up and comer showing all the signs of becoming a star, and a popular one at that. As the son of World of Outlaws star Dave Blaney, Ryan comes across as a racer’s racer type. We’re talking grease underneath the fingernails, with a certain unpolished that resonates with fans. He reeled off his first career MENCS victory last season at Pocono, and with Penske Power under the hood, there’s no reason to think there isn’t more where that came from.
Sometimes with an expansion, there can be concerns that a team will spread their resources too thinly. You’ve got to think that wib’t be the case with Team Penske. They’re a long and well-established organization that has managed to keep themselves well-funded. I just don’t think that’s going to be an issue.
While it wasn’t his best season, former champ Brad Keselowski had a solid 2017 campaign, finishing fourth at season’s end. If stability is the name of the game, the number 2 has it. Paul Wolfe is back as crew chief for Brad’s 10th season with Team Penske. The money’s fine with the backing of Miller Lite, and now Discount Tire. Keselowski is always in the mix. This season will be no different.
If one driver struggle under the Team Penske banner, it was Joey Logano. His lone victory became “encumbered” after the discover of violations during post-race inspection. All in all, it wasn’t a terrible year- with a win, top fives and 17 top tens- he just wasn’t quite as prolific as say, 2015. The 22 will look to bounce back. There’s really no reason to think Logano won’t step it up. Sometimes a setback can take you out of the game. 2018 represents a chance for a fresh start.