The Team Penske Transformation

 “Don’t expect to see a change if you don’t make one.” – Unknown

Will Team Penske's changes help or hurt Brad Keselowski? (Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff/The Podium Finish)

Will Team Penske’s changes help or hurt Brad Keselowski? (Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff/The Podium Finish)

Every NASCAR off-season comes with any number of changes for an organization, even for Team Penske. Sometimes this change involves a manufacturer, and more often a new driver or crew chief. Even more frequently, changes come within crew members and office staff. 

However, Team Penske rattled headlines in January when they announced a major shake-up within the organization. The news came that all three Cup Series crew chiefs, along with road and pit crews, would shift teams within the organization.

Paul Wolfe and Brad Keselowski worked together for nine years, including Keselowski’s 2012 Championship run. Todd Gordon and 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Joey Logano were together for six seasons prior to the shake-up. And 2019 marked the third full-time season with Jeremy Bullins atop Ryan Blaney’s pit box.  

(Photo Credit: Josh Jones/The Podium Finish)

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” – J.P. Morgan

The newest pairings listed Wolfe with Logano, Bullins with Keselowski, and Gordon with Blaney. It is worth noting that the spotters from the previous season remained with their drivers.

When the news broke, reactions were mixed across social media. Many fans were shocked that such a change would occur when the pairings seemed to work so well and for so long. Others were admittedly angry knowing their favorite driver and crew chief would no longer be together. And some simply could not understand why when all three teams advanced to the NASCAR Playoffs in 2019.

According to a Penske press release, owner Roger Penske said, “As we do after the completion of each season, we evaluated what we can do to better achieve our goals and we felt it was time to make these changes to better position us to reach our potential.”

Penske continued, “We are fortunate that we have three very strong leaders in Paul, Todd, and Jeremy, who work with experienced and talented crews. Pairing each of these winning teams with different drivers and cars should provide new energy and a fresh approach for the 2020 season.”

(Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff/The Podium Finish)

Now, the crew chiefs and drivers are not strangers to each other. These men pass each other at Penske headquarters daily. Not to mention, Keselowski and Bullins have won together numerous times in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Certainly, there will be growing pains and a learning curve as they learn to communicate in the most effective way. 

In addition, it will be interesting to see the dynamics form and watch them grow together throughout the season. And of course, it will be exciting to see what these already incredibly successful gentlemen in their own rights can accomplish on the track in their new partnerships. 

 

Speedweeks 2020

The Busch Clash was the first opportunity to truly hear and see how they would work together. Unfortunately, the race finished with no Team Penske drivers remaining on track, however, each spent much of the day in the top 10. Keselowski led 33 of 75 laps but was involved in an incident between Logano and Kyle Busch that put an unfortunate early end to his day.

Qualifying came prior to the Busch Clash and set Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Alex Bowman on the front row for the Daytona 500. The Duels on Thursday evening will set the line up for the remainder of the field for the 500. Then, after much fanfare, NASCAR Cup Series drivers will take the green flag for the Great American Race on Sunday, February 16 at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX. 

Follow Team Penske on Twitter, along with their three drivers:

No. 2 Brad Keselowski
No. 12 Ryan Blaney
No. 22 Joey Logano

Terra Jones

As a life-long NASCAR fan and lover of words, I'm fortunate enough to put the two together here at The Podium Finish to bring our readers and motorsports fans news, features, and interviews from the world of wheels. Originally from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, I moved westward to graduate from Middle Tennessee State University. I now reside in central North Carolina with my husband, our three boys, and our dog, Charlotte. While my heart is at the race track, I also enjoy watching baseball, as well as college football and basketball. 

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