Depending on how the last three races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series season play out, Penske Racing could be celebrating not just one title, but two. Before that scenario can unfold, much work remains in both the drivers’ and owners’ championship races.
Sam Hornish Jr., who won at Las Vegas earlier in the season, trails points leader Austin Dillon by eight markers. Hornish has compiled 14 top fives, 22 top 10s and three poles in the first 30 races of the season. His average finishing position of 9.4 in 2013 is a personal best. He finished 34th, seventh and fourth in his most recent trips to the three remaining tracks on the schedule. In 18 combined starts at those three tracks he has one victory, coming at Phoenix in November 2011.
In the owners’ title hunt, Penske’s No. 22 Ford entry held a 28-point lead over Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 54 Toyota two races ago. Heading into the final three races that advantage has virtually disappeared. Penske Racing’s No. 22, which has visited Victory Lane 11 times with four different drivers – Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, AJ Allmendinger and Ryan Blaney – now trails JGR’s No. 54 by four points. The latter’s slim advantage is fueled by Kyle Busch’s 11 victories.
Penske Racing has visited Victory Lane at each of the three remaining tracks once – Kurt Busch at Texas (2005), Hornish at Phoenix and Ryan Newman at Homestead in 2005.