It will be a challenge to surpass the success of a season that brought 36 race victories and three series championships, but if any organization is ready to top those achievements in 2018, its Team Penske and its stable of talented teams and drivers.
With some key expansion and new faces in new places, the 2018 racing season promises to be one of excitement and opportunity for Team Penske. The team will once again expect to battle for wins and series titles in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR XFINITY Series, the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship this season. Team Penske will also return to its racing roots in 2018 as it joins the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Acura in a long-anticipated return to sports car racing.
In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS), Team Penske expands to a three-car team for 2018. Team stalwart drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano will be joined by rising star Ryan Blaney to form a formidable trio this season.
After reaching the Championship 4 round of the Playoffs in 2017 and finishing fourth in the final standings, Keselowski is back for his 10th season with the team. The 2012 series champion continues to pursue his second MENCS crown and he's in a good position to do it this season with Paul Wolfe back as crew chief and most of the No. 2 Ford team in place from last season. Discount Tire moves up to the Team Penske MENCS program in 2018 and the retail tire giant becomes a primary partner on the No. 2 Ford Fusion, joining longtime sponsor Miller Lite, along with Wurth, Alliance Truck Parts and Autotrader.
Logano and the No. 22 Ford Fusion team looks to rebound with a strong season after a challenging 2017. The 2015 Daytona 500 champion is one of the most productive and consistent drivers in the Cup Series and he continues his winning pairing with crew chief Todd Gordon in 2018. Racing the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford with additional sponsorship from AAA/Automobile Club of Southern California and Autotrader, Logano is in position to return to the Playoffs in his sixth season with Team Penske.
Blaney joins the Team Penske MENCS program full-time this season after a track record of success with the team in the XFINITY Series and also coming off a productive season racing for Wood Brothers Racing. Blaney earned his first Cup Series win and a spot in the Playoffs in 2017 and he looks to build on that success this season driving the No. 12 Menards/PPG/REV/DEX Imaging Ford Fusion with Jeremy Bullins leading the way as crew chief for the team.
The championship-winning Team Penske NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) program looks to continue its success in 2018 as well. Keselowski, Logano and Blaney will all compete in the No. 22 Ford Mustang this season, alongside crew chief Brian Wilson, as the team will strive to produce its fifth series owner title for Roger Penske. The team will also field a second entry for the No. 12 Ford Mustang in select NXS events this season. Winning drivers Austin Cindric and Paul Menard will compete in NXS races for Team Penske as well this season with partners Discount Tire, REV, Fitzgerald, Snap-on, PPG and Menards providing support.
In the Verizon IndyCar Series, Team Penske will shift from a full-season four-car lineup to a dynamic three-car team for 2018. With three series champions setting the pace for the team in Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden, it promises to be another productive season for North America's most successful open-wheel racing team, competing with a new universal aerokit car for 2018.
Newgarden will carry the reigning champion's No. 1 on the Hitachi/Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet this season as he tries to defend his title from his magical first season with Team Penske in 2017. Once again paired with race engineer Brian Campe, Newgarden and the No. 1 team hope to surpass their total of four victories from last season.
Power begins his 10th season with Team Penske in 2018 and he continues to prove he's just as fast now as he ever was driving the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet. Power and race engineer Dave Faustino remain one of the most successful pairings in the series. After scoring three wins and seven poles in 2017, the Australian racer hopes to produce his second series crown to go along with his 2014 VICS title.
After falling just short of repeating as Verizon IndyCar Series champion in 2017, Pagenaud moves from the No. 1 back to the No. 22 Menards/DXC Technology Chevrolet this season. On the strength of two wins and 13 top-five finishes, Pagenaud finished second to Newgarden in the tight 2017 title chase and he'll strive to finish this season one position better as he once again teams with race engineer Ben Bretzman.
Expanding to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2018, Acura Team Penske enters the series with a zoom. The two-car DPi program will compete with the new ARX-05 Acura platform and two accomplished INDYCAR stars will be teamed with two established young American series champions behind the wheels.
Three-time Indy 500 winner and longtime Team Penske INDYCAR racer Helio Castroneves transitions to sports car racing this season and he'll drive the No. 7 Acura. Castroneves will be paired with Ricky Taylor, the 2017 Prototype Class champion and 19-time race winner who also claimed victory at the Rolex 24 in Daytona last season. Raul Prados will serve as the race engineer for the No. 7 team.
Another Indy 500-winning driver will make the full-time switch to sports cars as Juan Pablo Montoya, two-time Indy 500 winner and former INDYCAR champion who has raced for Team Penske since 2014, joins the IMSA program this season. After excelling in limited sports car action with three wins to his credit over his career, Montoya will race the No. 6 Acura in 2018. Dane Cameron, a 12-time sports car race winner will compete alongside Montoya in the No. 6 and he also brings great experience to the new team. Cameron captured the 2016 IMSA Prototype title and he won the GTD Class in the series in 2014. Jonathan Diuguid, who most recently served as Castroneves' race engineer from the Team Penske INDYCAR program, will lead the engineering efforts.
Fresh off the team championship and a remarkable season that generated 15 wins and 20 pole positions in 2017, DJR Team Penske is looking to contnue its ascent as one of the top teams in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard finished second and third, respectively, in the drivers championship and both expect to compete for the title again in 2018. Renowned race engineer Ludo Lacroix returns to work with McLaughlin on the No. 17 Shell V-Power Ford Falcon while Coulthard will be paired with experienced engineer Mark Fenning as a new combination on the No. 12 Shell-Power Ford Falcon for 2018.
Team Penske continues to add to its legacy of success in motorsports and the 2018 season brings great aniticpation as the organization is ready to fight for wins and championships across all levels of competition.