While last week should have been great for NASCAR‘s Penske Racing, it instead turned into a mediocre weekend edging toward the bad after the penalties from the Fed-Ex 400 post-race inspection to reigning champion Brad Keselowski’s car were announced by NASCAR officials.
It was crew chief Paul Wolfe‘s first week back, and already controversy was centering itself on the Keselowski team once again, one which has met serious adversity on the race track recently.
The penalties to Brad Keselowski and team set him back six points, which may seem like no big deal, but the field from 10th to 20th is very tight at the moment. If Keselowski suffers from a bad day on Sunday in the Party in the Poconos 400, he will be hard-pressed to save himself from falling out of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
To miss the Chase after a championship would be a severe humiliation as well as a confirmation to the theory that Bad Brad’s championship was a fluke that only happened because of Jimmie Johnson‘s mistakes.
The other Penske driver is in an even worse position than the reigning champ. Joey Logano finds himself still languishing at 18th in the points, standings far away from the top-10. Logano desperately needs a strong finish at this track, where he has found success before with a win while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.
In fact, he needs a win to compete for a wildcard spot. Logano has been running well this season, so don’t be surprised to see him in contention here this week.
The fate of Penske Racing going to the Chase is in jeopardy, and strong finishes at this triangular track are simply a must this weekend.