Saturday, October 16, 2021

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Roger Penske has the perfect race at Talladega Superspeedway

“It was the perfect race,” Roger Penske said. “I think it showed how good the car is, the aerodynamics, certainly the engine, and as I said earlier a world-class driver.”

While it marked the second win for Brad Keselowski at Talladega on Sunday, it marked the first win for car owner Roger Penske on the 2.66 mile oval.

“We’ve been coming here almost since 1972,” Penske said on Sunday. “So it’s a long time to get a race win. It was certainly special.”

Sunday the pieces finally came together for the long-time car owner as he said they had the power under the hood and their fuel economy was good.

“You never know what’s going to happen with a green-white-checkered at Daytona or Talladega,” he added. “We were very fortunate and he did a terrific job.”

On the final lap, Keselowski perfected leading a tandem all the way to the line as he was able to separate himself from Kyle Busch with enough gap that Busch couldn’t pass him.

“I’d say that you certainly become a student of the game,” Penske commented.

Beyond the final lap, Penske also made note of how Keselowski got hooked up with Busch on the restart to make the pass on Kenseth for the lead.

“If you look at the rules today, I would say he ran a perfect race,” Penske added. “He ran the bottom lane all day. When it was time to go, he figured it out. For me, that’s what we hire these guys for, so it was a good job.”

Coming down to the end of the race, Penske wasn’t thinking of a victory at all as he just didn’t want to see a wreck happen.

“I wanted it to be a safe finish,” he said. “We weren’t in the top 12. Here we are, two or three laps from the end, we don’t want a mistake. I said, ‘Brad, let’s bring this thing home in one piece’.”

So far this year, Keselowski has two wins, three top fives and five top 10s in 10 races.

“I think he’s matured a lot,” Penske noted. “He’s been a tremendous asset to the team, not just for Brad Keselowski, for Penske Racing. You can see when he comes in the shop, he’s spending a lot of time. I wouldn’t trade him for anybody right now.”

As the success comes, they’re getting closer reaching their goal of being a championship team, which was Keselowski’s goal for Penske when he showed up at the team.

“He’s certainly demonstrated that from the driving ability,” Penske said. “His chemistry with Paul Wolfe and that whole team has made a difference.

“This is not about the driver, the car, the sponsor, it’s about the whole team.  He’s the real package.  What we’re trying to do is give him everything we can to make him a winner. Obviously, one of the goals in my life is to sit up on that stage in New York or Las Vegas, and I think he’s the guy that can make it happen this year, hopefully.”

Keselwoski is also a driver that’s always focused on improving as Penske says Keselowski runs the Nationwide Series races to learn more.  The success they’ve had this year credits to that and also the changes that they made late last year in their program.

“I think you’ve seen this year this year we’ve been very competitive,” Penske said. “AJ has done a good job.  On the IndyCar side, when you win the first four races, can’t do much better than that.  Overall I think we’ve got a great season going. It’s a credit really to our people.”

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