Penske Drivers Not Feeling Any Added Pressure as Lone Ford Chase Drivers

Penske Drivers Not Feeling Any Added Pressure as Lone Ford Chase Drivers

by September 18, 2015 0 comments

CHICAGO — As a manufacturer, Ford has had several seasons where only two drivers of theirs have made the Chase – but in previous instances, this occurred in times where only 10 or 12 drivers made the Chase.

Now that the Sprint Cup Series’s playoff system has expanded to include 16 teams, this time around, the Dearborn, Mich.-based manufacturer only represents 12.5-percent of the Chase field.

If you ask Team Penske’s Chase drivers, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, if they’re feeling any added pressure to perform well in the Chase due to the shortage of Ford drivers in the field, they’ll tell you that they’re approaching the Chase as they normally would – whether there’s two or 12 Fords in the Chase grid.

“I wouldn’t say it’s any more pressure, if we were a part of the Chevy group – there’s a ton of them – you’d still want to win and you want to beat them all,” Logano said. “It’s still the same amount of drivers in the Chase no matter what and we want to go beat them all, whether it’s two Fords or 16 Fords out there.

“We need to hold our own and we have as good of a chance to win this thing as anybody. I think I feel confident that we can go out there and make that happen and the two of us can work together well enough to get there.”

“No, I don’t view it that way,” Keselowski added. “I feel that the pressure to deliver – if there were 10 Fords in it it wouldn’t make a difference to me.”

In terms of average finishes, Keselowski and Logano are both outpacing themselves from 2014 with Keselowski holding an average of 11.3 compared to 12.6 while Logano’s 8.6 is lower than his 2014 figure of 11.3.

While their combined four victories is lower than their seven combined wins at this point of the season last year, both drivers say they have what it takes to not only make it to Homestead, but to bring home the championship.

Making it to the championship round last year, Logano says that he and his team have already proved that they can make it back to Homestead.

“I think last year we proved to ourselves most importantly that we can do it,” Logano said. “We got all the way to the final round there. I was proud of what my team did. We learned a lot throughout that last week and that valuable experience, you can’t really put a price tag on.”

While it certainly was a disappointment that he was unable to take home the Sprint Cup trophy, Logano was able to take some positives out of his Homestead run from last year.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t win, that’s the negative,” Logano stated. “The positive, which I believe is larger than the negative, is that we learned how to do it. We know what we have to do now.

“We’re not going to go into that race lost, we know what we have to do to win it, we’ve just got to get there first.”

Keselowski added that he isn’t expecting any real surprises regarding what to expect out of this year’s Chase.

“I don’t really expect the second year around to be different,” Keselowski stated. “I expect the Chase to look very similar to what it looked like last year…

“It’s another year and I don’t feel that there’s anything that I would have done any different.”

When reflecting on the team’s performance throughout the year, Keselowski also stated that even though the team may be a bit off from their performance from last year when it comes to wins, what has happened in the regular season shouldn’t quite be indicative of how Team Penske will perform in the Chase.

“Every season, there’s always cycles,” Keselowski said. “I would say we had a very poor cycle through the early summer where we weren’t where we wanted to be.

“But, over the last few weeks, we’ve been exactly where we want to be. I wouldn’t [look] too much into that. Once you get into these 10 races here with these brackets, it doesn’t really matter what you’ve done, what matters is what you’re about to do.”

Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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