Penske Powerhouse proves strong at Texas, creates seventh different winner

(Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

A new face entered Victory Lane, yet it wasn’t an unexpected one.

Joey Logano won the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The event ran on Monday after rain washed out the scheduled Sunday afternoon start. The No. 22 was stout in the final stretch, resulting in his first win of the 2014 season and his second for Team Penske.

Though the race was postponed due to weather, nothing can rain on Penske’s parade this season. Logano and teammate Brad Keselowski have figured out the new qualifying format, the deepest start overall being fourteenth under the system. With the No. 2 car taking the checkered flag at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the team is looking to field both cars in The Chase. Keselowski finished 15th at Texas after a speeding penalty during final pit stops. Prior to the mistake, he was running second, hunting down his teammate and going for another win. There’s no doubt he would’ve contended on the green-white-checkered.

Team Penske is recuperating after a difficult 2013. Though the organization grabbed two victories, the 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion wasn’t backing up his title well, and he had a few run-ins with NASCAR. Logano’s Chase berth was overshadowed by his newsworthy altercation with Denny Hamlin.

What makes this duo so impressive this time around? Pressure has a lot to do with it; Keselowski deemed his 2013 performance unacceptable, and Logano needed to gain respect. Between the slumps and bumps, hungry grew. The beasts awakened. Two brash, fearless drivers became mentally stronger.

That, in turn, created a powerhouse. One that isn’t stopping soon.

Logano’s win makes for seven different winners this season, and feat that may be broken this coming weekend at Darlington Raceway. The Lady in Black has a lot to live up to; Monday’s race was full of interesting happenings, from Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s fiery crash, to Kevin Harvick’s blown engine, to the late race caution that shook things up.

One thing is for sure: a hot, Southern race under the lights is bound to generate even more media buzz.

Point Standings after the Duck Commander 500

1. Jeff Gordon (–)
2. Matt Kenseth (-4)
3.Carl Edwards (-12)
4. Joey Logano (-24)
5. Kyle Busch (-28)
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-31)
6. Jimmie Johnson (-31)
8. Brad Keselowski (-41)
9. Brian Vickers (-54)
10. Paul Menard (-56)
11. Ryan Newman (-57)
11. Austin Dillon (-57)
13. Denny Hamlin (-62)
14. Tony Stewart (-70)
15. Kyle Larson (-72)
15. Greg Biffle (-72)

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