‘The Captain’ Leads Charge into Uncharted Territory

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – The season has been an incredible one for Roger Penske. The legendary owner has achieved success in the Verizon IndyCar Series with Will Power charging to his first championship, and tonight he was crowned the owner’s champion in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Tomorrow ‘The Captain’ has a chance to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title with driver Joey Logano.

If the 24-year-old can pull it off and win his first championship, Penske will be the first person in the history of motorsports to win titles in both Sprint Cup and IndyCar in the same season. In 2012, the feat was nearly accomplished when Brad Keselowski seized the Sprint Cup championship and Power had gone into the IndyCar season finale at Fontana with the points lead, but a 24th place finish dropped the Aussie to second in the standings, crushing any dreams of making history.

Fast forward to this season and the car owner may finally get his shot at redemption.

“It would be a dream come true, there’s no question,” said Penske. “It’s a goal that the team had when we started at the beginning of the year. It got a little more real as we came to the Chase, and we saw how competitive we were in that series. We knew that we had a strong car in Nationwide, so to me, can’t count our chickens before they’re hatched, there’s no question about that, but we’ve got some tough racing to do tomorrow. You could see it today at this track. It’s a different track. It would mean a lot to our team. When I think about the overall season, I think about 22 races we’ve had winners, and that’s a record for us as a team for over 50 years. To me I can’t say it’s a bad year one way or the other, but our goal is to win tomorrow.”

The statistics from Team Penske in 2014 alone are staggering.

Verizon IndyCar Series
Juan Pablo Montoya – one win, four podiums, fourth in the standings.
Helio Castroneves – one win, six podiums, second in the standings.
Will Power – three wins, seven podiums, series champion.

NASCAR Nationwide Series
Alex Tagliani – one runner-up finish, two top fives in two starts.
Ryan Blaney – one win, 10 top fives, 13 top 10’s in 14 starts.
Joey Logano – eight top fives, nine top 10’s in 10 starts.
Brad Keselowski – five wins, 10 top fives, 11 top 10’s in 11 starts. *No.22 owner’s champion

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Brad Keselowski – six wins, 16 top fives, 19 top 10’s.
Joey Logano – five wins, 16 top fives, 22 top 10’s.

After a blistering season on the track it will all come down to Sunday afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Logano rolls off ninth in the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, 400 miles and three other rivals separate him from the Sprint Cup title and Mr. Penske from history.

Image: Getty Images

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Joey Barnes is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, IndyCar.com and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.

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