Cup preview: Team Penske hoping continuity means title

It's not all fun and games for Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski, left, and Joey Logano, but both have reasonable expectations to compete for the title in 2016. Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

The seventh installment in a series of 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team previews ahead of the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 21:


Principal owner(s): Roger Penske

Manufacturer: Ford

Engine source: Roush-Yates Engines

Alliances: Wood Brothers Racing

Drivers (crew chiefs): Brad Keselowski (Paul Wolfe), Joey Logano (Todd Gordon)

2015's top finisher: Logano, sixth

2015 Grade: A-

Ownership stability: A

Sponsorship stability: A-

Driver/crew chief quality: A

2016 team grade: A-

Outlook: There's a changing of the guard within the Sprint Cup Series. Veterans such as Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart are retiring, and former young guns such as Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch are transitioning into the role of established stars. But there is also arguably a changing of guard occurring within Team Penske's NASCAR operation. Joey Logano won the 2015 Daytona 500 and kept the upper hand over teammate Keselowski all year long, scoring a series-high six wins and establishing himself as the championship favorite prior to his late-year run-ins with Matt Kenseth. Keselowski won just one race, but ended the season in seventh place, right behind Logano in the standings. For 2016, almost nothing has changed, other than the updated Ford Fusions the team will race. All key personnel and sponsors remain intact, and it's highly likely that both Penske drivers will be in the mix deep into the Chase. "I learned in business many years ago that you don't want turnover," Roger Penske said. "Some might be good, but on a race team, it's all about continuity. You see the speed we had in 2015 and 2014, and I think we will carry on where we left off at the end of the season."

Driver lineup

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite/Alliance/Wurth Ford): Last year fell well short of Brad Keselowski's expectations, and his challenge for 2016 is to regain the upper hand within Team Penske. There's no question that Keselowski and Joey Logano form one of the strongest driver lineups in the series, and how they manage that relationship is key to the team's future success. Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe have undoubtedly worked very hard to understand where they lagged behind Logano and the No. 22 car last year, and the intra-Penske battle will be one of this year's most interesting storylines. "Coming up a bit short is of course disappointing, but we are right there between the 2 and 22 car," Keselowski said. "If we are not beating down the door to get another championship, we are at least knocking very loudly, and we will continue to do so with the continuity that we've had for many years to come."

2016 goal: Get back to championship form.

Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil/AAA Ford): Over the past two years, Joey Logano established himself as a top-level star in the Cup Series -- and he's still just 25 years old. He looked like he was in position to cruise to his first Cup title in 2015, but his clashes with Matt Kenseth at Kansas and Martinsville put an end to that dream. Kenseth said he was trying to teach Logano a lesson, and it will be interesting to see whether he learned anything about respecting his rival drivers. For Logano, a Cup Series crown is a matter of when, not if. "We want to win trophies for Roger and win a championship," Logano said. "We need to keep growing and doing the same things we have been doing, but refining it to get better in each and every area to keep the results coming that we have gotten -- and hopefully the big trophy at the end of the season."

2016 goal: Stay trouble-free on the way to a championship.