NASCAR America: Chicagoland could provide opportunity for Team Penske

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The current Cup season has been a boon for Ford-backed teams, but Stewart-Haas Racing has carried most of the success.

One Ford team fighting for a larger share of the win total is Team Penske.

The team’s three drivers of Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney are all in the top 11 in points, but only Logano has visited Victory Lane.

One aspect working in Penske’s favor this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway is its record.

In 17 Cup races at the 1.5-mile track, Keselowski is the only driver to go Victory Lane with a Ford. He and Penske also won there in 2012 with a Dodge.

Keselowski, who is fourth in points behind Logano, also boasts his career-best average finish at Chicagoland (9.2).

He’s finished in the top 10 in his last seven starts there.

Two of his four top fives this season have come at 1.5-mile tracks.

Meanwhile, Logano has finished worse than seventh only once in his last six Chicago visits. Blaney has finished fourth and 11th in his two Chicago starts.

NASCAR America analysts Steve Letarte, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton discussed the team’s prospects this weekend in Chicago.

Of Keselowski, Burton said, “This is the longest he’s gone into a season without a win since 2013. He needs to win, he needs a win to establish himself as one of those guys that can go to Homestead and win. … With the success here from Brad I think you’ve got to watch him.”

Letarte said the hot and slick conditions could affect how Keselowski communicates with crew chief Paul Wolfe.

“They’re that team you can never get rid of,” Letarte said. “They’re in a race, you kind of rule them out in the first stage, next thing you know here they come again, they’ve made adjustments, they’ve improved their race car.”

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