Team Penske has the Playoffs covered

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 06: Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Menards/Dutch Boy Ford, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Grant Park 165 at Chicago Street Course on July 06, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Though it took a few months into the season, the three-car Team Penske organization is the first multi-car team to secure 2024 Playoff berths for all of its entries.

The newest member of the team, 25-year-old Austin Cindric won Penske’s first race of the year June 3, at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in Illinois—ironically as teammate Ryan Blaney ran out of gas while leading on the next-to-last lap.

Blaney, the reigning series champion, got his win two weeks later, claiming the trophy at Iowa Speedway, and two-time series champ Joey Logano finally got his win last week in a five-overtime Nashville Superspeedway finish.

“It is definitely something to be proud of, no doubt, it’s hard,’’ Logano said in Chicago, where he finished eighth in last year inaugural race. “This NextGen car, I’m telling you, it isn’t like it used to be where you can just count on the Penske cars to be in the Playoffs. There are really solid teams that are going to miss the Playoffs this year. It is just what it is not with this NextGen car.

“It is hard to get a huge advantage and if you have a few things that just don’t go your way time after time, you find yourself behind the eight ball on the outside looking in pretty quickly.

“It’s just different than it used to be where you would look at Hendrick, Gibbs and Penske and on a bad day they would finish 10th to 12th. Now on a bad day, you finish 25th just off of raw speed. It’s a different game that it used to be. Because of that there are more players in the game and it makes it harder to get through the rounds and get in the Playoffs for sure.’’