In a year that featured its challenges as a result of a global pandemic, including many changes and adjustments to the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) season, Brad Keselowski and Team Penske’s No. 2 Ford Mustang team remained focused on the task at hand. The team set aside any distractions and rose to the challenge to win races and challenge for the series championship down to the final laps of the 2020 season.
A preseason personnel realignment among the three Team Penske drivers, crew chiefs and teams paired Keselowski with a familiar ally in Jeremy Bullins. The driver and crew chief worked together in the team’s NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) program, winning races and the NXS owner championship. The challenge was there to carry that success to the Cup Series level for the tandem.
Despite a myriad of unforeseen challenges, including no practice or qualifying and multiple races in a week as a result of the schedule adjustments, Keselowski, Bullins and the No. 2 team proved they were ready for the opportunity with their consistent results on track.
Keselowski drove the No. 2 Ford Mustang to four victories, including a memorable overtime win in the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. That result gave Keselowski victories in three of NASCAR’s major events (in 2018 he won the Southern 500 and Brickyard 400) and it marked his first career victory in NASCAR’s longest event.
One week later, Keselowski won at Bristol Motor Speedway for the first of his two short track victories during the season. The No. 2 Ford Mustang also scored dominant wins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in August and at Richmond Raceway in September.
Keselowski led all competitors on short tracks in 2020 as he earned the most wins (two), top-five finishes (four) and top-10 results (four) on the shorter circuits. Overall for the season, Keselowski produced 13 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes. He recorded an average finishing position of 10.1 to equal his career-best effort from his 2012 championship season.
The 2020 campaign marked the fifth consecutive season that Keselowski posted three or more NCS race victories and he qualified for the NASCAR Playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.
With strong results throughout the Playoffs – the No. 2 Ford scored five top-six results over the 10-race postseason, including the win at Richmond – Keselowski kept the team moving forward toward its goal of another series championship.
Keselowski qualified for the Championship 4 with a fourth-place finish at Martinsville Speedway in November, to earn his second opportunity to race for a Cup Series title since the elimination format made its debut in 2014. In the season finale at Phoenix Raceway, The No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang got stronger as the race wore on as Keselowski made his push for glory. He ultimately finished second in the race and completed an unforgettable season as series runner-up for his best finish since winning the Cup Series crown in 2012.
“I think it was one of those scenarios where everybody got better,” Keselowski said of Team Penske’s performance overall during the course of the season. “You look last year we didn’t have either of the cars in the top four at Homestead for the final race and now we had two cars in it. I think you look at Ryan Blaney and he had one of his best years ever, so it was interesting how it worked out. I think all three (Cup Series teams) got better and for us with the Discount Tire Ford we had a great season.”
Once again led by Bullins, the No. 2 Ford Mustang and Keselowski are ready to build on their momentum from 2020 and make another run at the NCS championship as they gear up for the 2021 season.