CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Story and photo By Race Chaser Online Senior Editor Tom Baker —
Day three of NASCAR’s 2015 Media Tour Presented by Telecom was “Ford Wednesday”.
And it was only fitting that the “closing act” for the day should be Team Penske. After all, they are coming off their most successful season in history, both as a NASCAR team and overall as an organization.
In a press conference hosted by NBC’s Dave Burns, “Team Captain” (Founder and Chairman) Roger Penske spoke of the crew’s 2014 success.
“We won a total of 22 races. It was probably our most successful season ever in IndyCar, and in NASCAR as well,” Penske said. “We have been able to bring all of our drivers and crew chiefs back, and it’s amazing in this world today to be able to say that we’ve been able to renew each of our sponsors on multi-year contracts, which gives us a great base to build on for the future. It’s that continuity that we believe is key to our success not only last year but this year and going forward as well.”
Penske team executives Walt Czarnecki and Tim Cindric also spoke, echoing their boss’s sentiments. Brad Keselowski began his piece by playfully empathizing with the photographers in the room who “took the exact same photo last year” as it was the same personnel on the stage and they were wearing the same shirts minus one logo.
“Bad Brad” also shared his disbelief that it had been six years since he joined Team Penske, adding that when he first arrived on the scene they had three Cup teams that were all functioning separately, not really sharing information or working together. Now, he pointed out, the drivers and crew chiefs work hand in hand at all levels and it functions like one big team that has accumulated a lot more wins and greater overall success and consistency.
When it was Joey Logano’s turn, Burns asked him how his newly green-flagged married life was going.
“Great,” the New England native responded. “I’m on my second wedding ring already, but I still have the same girl!” which drew hearty laughter from the stage and the audience. Joey spoke of his ever-increasing fellowship with crew chief Todd Gordon and the cohesiveness among all the teams.
For the second time today (after a slight costume change) Ryan Blaney shared the stage and reiterated his sentiments from the earlier Wood Brothers conference by talking about how the alliance between Team Penske and Wood Brothers Racing, combined with his scheduled starts for Penske in the XFINITY Series and Brad Keselowski Racing in the Camping World Truck Series should not just give him valuable seat time, but also a chance to be competitive each time out in all three series.
“It’s exciting that we can bring the Wood Brothers and all of their history into what we’re doing on the Team Penske side of things and, hopefully, elevate their program even further and help them to become competitive again,” Blaney said. “I was back and forth on the idea of not running for a championship in any series this year, but the opportunities I’ve been given, when you look at all of it together, are really special. I am definitely excited to get to Daytona and start the year by focusing on running my first 500!”
Looking at all that Team Penske has going on in NASCAR this season, including their alliance with part-time team Levine Family Racing and driver Michael McDowell, the formula seems pretty simple.
Success + Continuity + More Teams = Even More Success.
A third XFINITY Series Owner’s Championship and a strong shot at two cars “Chasing” another NASCAR Sprint Cup title appear to be almost certain for Team Penske in 2015.