It has taken only three races for Team Penske to lock down two of the 16 available spots in this season’s Cup playoffs.
Joey Logano joined teammate Brad Keselowski in the playoffs after he held off Keselowski on the final lap of Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Keselowski earned his playoff spot with his Atlanta win last weekend.
With those playoff berths secured, Keselowski anticipates the No. 2 and No. 22 teams to push the limits of their Fords over the rest of the regular season.
“Expect us to get more aggressive with things that might break,” he said during a Facebook Live video on a flight after the race. “Things of that nature that could make us run faster but might break, because we don’t have to worry so much about points.”
Logano leads the point standings after three races while Keselowski is fifth.
Logano’s crew chief, Todd Gordon, views things differently after the win.
“I don’t think that I’ll do things differently, the only thing is (the win) allows you to be a little more aggressive,” he said. “That’s how you call a race or some of the things you do. You can be a little bit more aggressive to try to go get wins. Those things you’ll still do, but we’re still trying to learn what we’ve got to do to race this package, and where we go.”
The third Penske driver, Ryan Blaney, has yet to finish in the top 10 this season
This is the fastest Team Penske has secured two playoff spots in the elimination era, which began in 2014.
Last year, the team didn’t earn its second win and playoff spot until Keselowski’s Southern 500 victory at Darlington in September.
During his Facebook Live video, Keselowski was asked about his thoughts about running a night race at Martinsville Speedway.
“Don’t get me started,” Keselowski said. “I think we should be running Martinsville in the middle of the summer at night. A good ole’ short track race. I think like a good midweek race at Martinsville would be awesome. That’s probably not going to happen in my lifetime. But I can ask and I can dream, right?”
NASCAR is expected to make significant changes to the schedule in the next two years.
NASCAR President Steve Phelps has said “everything is on the table” in regards to schedule changes.
Regarding a night race, Martinsville President Clay Campbell said last summer, “We would love to swap dates with somebody, but the question is who wants to give up a date and give it to us? Because most of the dates are taken, it would take something that makes sense for the other track and makes sense for us and it’s complicated.”