TALLADEGA, AL – Team Penske has been no stranger to Talladega Superspeedway’s Gatorade Victory Lane in recent years. Roger Penske’s drivers - Brad Keselowski, the defending GEICO 500 champion and Joey Logano - have combined to capture the past three checkered flags at the mammoth 2.66-mile Superspeedway and hope to give Penske a fourth straight in the GEICO 500 on Sunday, May 7.
With a triumph in the GEICO 500, Penske would join some pretty elite company. Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) and Hendrick Motorsports are the only teams to make at least four straight trips to Talladega Superspeedway’s Gatorade Victory lane.
Hendrick pulled off four-in-a-row from 2006-07 with a trio of drivers that included Brian Vickers, Jimmie Johnson, and Jeff Gordon. DEI holds the ultimate mark of five consecutive from 2001-03 with Dale Earnhardt Jr., who reeled off a record four straight, and Michael Waltrip, who added one more.
“Talladega has been good to us,” said Keselowski, already a two-time winner in 2017. “Talladega has been a track for us that’s been a great catalyst for success. I don’t know why that is, but it’s a track where if you’re capable of winning here, I think you show a certain level of attitude and swagger that carries your way through the rest of the year.”
Team Penske’s dominance began in October of 2014 when Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Ford, earned his third career Talladega victory. That day, he assumed the lead from Ryan Newman in overtime and took the checkered flag after 194 heart-pounding circuits.
The following spring, Earnhardt Jr. claimed his sixth career win at Talladega before Team Penske reigned again, and they have been atop the Talladega world ever since. In the fall ’15, Logano, who pilots the No. 22 Ford, led 28 laps and bested Hendrick Motorsports teammates Earnhardt, Jr. and Gordon. A year ago, in the GEICO 500, Keselowski dominated, leading 46 laps and fending off Kyle Busch before Logano made his second trip to Gatorade Victory Lane last fall. In the process, Logano became the first recipient of Talladega’s newest tradition - the Vulcan Trophy.
“Winning at Talladega is always fun,” Logano, who is still searching for his first win of ’17, said. "Even when you’re coming off turn four you don’t know if you’ve got it (the win) because so many things can happen before the start-finish line (Extended 1,250 feet towards Turn One from the middle of the tri-oval). For Team Penske to have the success we’ve had at Talladega, it has been memorable.”