Following a remarkable 2016 season that saw Team Penske celebrate its 50th anniversary with 20 victories and a Verizon IndyCar Series championship, the bar has been raised even higher in 2017 for one of the most successful organizations in sport's history.
With 10 victories in both NASCAR and INDYCAR competition, as well as improved performances and results in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship and capped off by the organization's 29th title, it will be hard to top the accomplishments of 2016. But if any team is capable of making its 51st season even more memorable than its 50th, it's Team Penske.
The 2016 season was another stellar year of accomplishment in NASCAR as Team Penske posted victories across both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as well as XFINITY Series competition, battling for series championships down to the final race of the season.
Joey Logano and and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil/AAA/Autotrader Ford Fusion team posted three race victories and took home the $1 million prize for capturing the annual All-Star Race in Charlotte while racing their way into the Chase for the Cup. Logano made his way through the elimination format of the Chase to the Championship round before coming up just one restart short in the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to finish a close second in the final Cup Series standings. With virtually all key personnel, including crew chief Todd Gordon, back on board for 2017, the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil/AAA/Autotrader Ford will be in a good position to once again fight for wins each and every weekend, make the Chase and compete for Logano's elusive first series title.
Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite/Alliance Truck Parts/Wurth/Autotrader Ford Fusion team also earned a spot in the Chase in 2016 with four victories over the course of the season, including Team Penske's landmark 100th Cup Series win to commemorate its 50th anniversary season. The 2012 Cup title winner and his team ran into some misfortune in the Chase round of 12 and was unable to battle for the championship. Consistent speed and performance from Keselowski, crew chief Paul Wolfe and the No. 22 Miller Lite/Alliance Truck Parts/Wurth/Autotrader Ford Fusion leave no doubt that they will once again be a title contender in 2017.
In his first full season competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Ryan Blaney had a solid 2016 racing the No. 21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing in an alliance with Team Penske as he finished 20th in the series standings. Blaney continued to shine while competing in selected races in the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang for Team Penske in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS).
Blaney will once again race in NXS for Team Penske in 2017 joining Keselowski and Logano, who posted a pair of NXS wins last season.
In the Verizon IndyCar Series, Team Penske appears to be primed for another championship run after a stellar, title-winning 2016 campaign. Not only does the title-winning team return to the grid this season but with a new addition to the lineup in 2017, Team Penske will enter the year with the top four in the final series standings all in its stable for this year.
The team won the championship with Simon Pagenaud and also claimed second and third place in the 2016 standings with Will Power and Helio Castroneves, respectively. The driver who finished fourth in the title chase, Josef Newgarden, joined the team shortly after the end of the season to give Team Penske a powerhouse lineup.
Pagenaud produced a series-leading five victories in the No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise/Menards/PPG/DeVillbiss Chevrolet en route to his first INDYCAR title and he returns in 2017 hungry to defend his crown.
Despite missing the first race of 2016 due to illness, Power was a force once healthy as he guided the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet to four wins and he gave Pagenaud a run for his money in the title chase. The 2014 series champ has his sights set on a second title entering 2017.
Entering his 20th INDYCAR season and his 18th with Team Penske, Castroneves continue to produce at an impressive level. He will be searching for his fourth Indianapolis 500 win and his first series championship this season in the No. 3 Hitachi/Shell-Pennzoil/AAA/Automobile Club of Southern California/REV/Verizon Chevy.
Newgarden joins Team Penske looking to impress in his first season with the team. The 26-year-old rising star American racer has produced three Verizon IndyCar Series wins over the past two seasons and he hopes to add to those numbers in 2017 driving the No. 2 Verizon/DeVillbiss/Hawk/PPG Chevrolet.
For the first time in its storied history, Team Penske will also run a fifth car at the Indianapolis 500 as Juan Pablo Montoya will return to the team for the month of May looking to recapture the magic from 2015 when he posted the team's record 16th victory in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
Team Penske will begin its third season racing in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in 2017. Once again teaming up with Dick Johnson Racing (DJR), Australia’s oldest and most established motorsports team, DJR Team Penske showed great improvement in 2016. With Fabian Coulthard entering his second season with the team and talented newcomer Scott McLaughlin coming on board, the team will be looking to continue its improved results and performance throughout the season.
The 2017 season promises to be fiulled with great excitement, success and championship aspirations. And with talented and focused drivers pairing with experienced and winning teams, Team Penske will look ot add to its legacy this season.