In the first NASCAR America of 2020, analysts Jeff Burton, Steve Letarte and Kyle Petty weighed in on the ramifications of Brad Keselowski’s anger at teammate Joey Logano.
The Team Penske drivers wrecked in Sunday’s Clash after Logano threw a block on Kyle Busch, which left Keselowski upset about the No. 22 Ford driver’s aggression.
Burton, Letarte and Petty agreed that Logano’s blocks weren’t what directly caused his contact with Busch. Letarte said that made it difficult to understand Keselowski’s frustration but noted (in the video above) there’s “been a lot of changes at Team Penske.”
Over the offseason, Team Penske swapped the crew chiefs between all three of its teams, pairing Logano with Paul Wolfe (Keselowski’s crew chief the past nine seasons) and Keselowski with Jeremy Bullins (who guided Ryan Blaney the past two years).
After the incident in the Clash, Burton said, “Roger Penske and everyone in upper management at Team Penske is going to have to get everyone together. These switches are great because no one got fired, everyone kept a job. But it makes it even more competitive, and it’s already super competitive internally. He’s going to outrun you with your (former crew chief)? It takes the competition and ratchets it up. There’s going to be a winner and loser, and it probably is not going to work out for everyone.
“This is a test for Team Penske to keep everyone together. It puts more pressure on everybody when you make this big of a switch unless it works for everybody. But the chance it works for everybody is probably not real high.
"It makes it even more competitive…internally, it takes the competition and ratchets it up."@NASCARonNBC analyst @JeffBurton on the dynamic inside of Team Penske following their offseason changes and the wreck in the Clash involving the No. 2 and 22. pic.twitter.com/rzNIgIgUWg
— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) February 10, 2020
Petty said he thought the Penske crew swaps had been less than smooth and created some “underlying tension.” He also noted Keselowski’s angry outburst came a day after he accidentally hit a fence in the garage with his Daytona 500 car, necessitating hours of repairs and causing more stress.
“When there is that tension and competition, and you stack all those on top of each other, and then you tear up a race car leaving the garage area, it all adds up,” Petty said. “(The crash) was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Watch the NASCAR America crew discuss the Team Penske dynamics in the video above and analyze the crash between Keselowski, Logano and Busch in the video below.