In a year that featured Brad Keselowski’s final season with Team Penske, the No. 2 Discount Tire/Autotrader/Dent Wizard/Wurth/MoneyLion/Keystone Light/Freightliner/Snap-on/Pirtek Ford Mustang team remained focused on winning races, competing for the NASCAR Cup Series championship and making 2021 a year to remember.
The No. 2 crew proved to be up to the task, despite a multitude of challenges encountered throughout the season. With lingering issues related to the ongoing global pandemic, including another season with limited weekend practice and qualifying sessions, and the challenge of racing at new circuits including the Bristol Dirt Race, Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Tex., Nashville, Tenn., and Elkhart Lake, Wisc., Keselowski, crew chief Jeremy Ford Bullins and the No. 2 team proved they could continue to deliver consistent results on track.
Keselowski drove the No. 2 Ford Mustang to a sixth-place season finish in the driver championship standings, highlighted by a victory at Talladega Superspeedway after he took the lead on the final lap to claim an overtime win in the GEICO 500 on April 25. The victory marked the first of the 2021 season for Keselowski and the No. 2 team, as well as his sixth triumph at the 2.66-mile Alabama superspeedway. The win also allowed Keselowski to tie both Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon for the most wins at Talladega. The 35th career series victory for Keselowski extended the streak for the Michigan native to 10 consecutive winning seasons in NASCAR Cup Series competition.
The final numbers for the 2021 season were impressive for Keselowski and the No. 2 Ford team – 10 top-five and 17 top-10 results, an average finishing position of 13.0 and 331 laps led. Keselowski and the No. 2 Ford team also earned the opportunity to race for the championship by claiming a spot in the NASCAR Playoffs for the eighth consecutive season.
With continued consistent results throughout the Playoffs – the No. 2 Ford Mustang scored seven top-10 results over the last 10 races in 2021, including a runner up finish at Talladega – Keselowski kept the team focused on its goal of winning a second Cup Series title. The No. 2 team raced its way into the Round of 8. Following a 17th-place finish at Kansas, Keselowski needed to win the following weekend at Martinsville Speedway to advance in the Playoffs. Unfortunately, a late-race rally on Halloween at Martinsville came up short of Victory Lane and the quest to secure a spot in the Cup Series Championship 4. With a promising third-place run, Keselowski and the team came within eight points of racing for the 2021 championship at Phoenix Raceway.
Despite not having a shot at the title in the season finale, Keselowski scored a 10th-place finish in his final race with Team Penske, producing another solid run at Phoenix. The finish helped Keselowski and the Discount Tire Ford team secure sixth place in the final driver standings. As Keselowski brought his 13-year career with Team Penske to a close he celebrated his many accomplishments with the team, including becoming the winningest driver in Team Penske history with 34 Cup Series victories, 33 Xfinity Series wins and two driver championships (the 2010 NXS title and the 2012 Cup Series crown).
“I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of something that makes saying goodbye so hard,” Keselowski shared on social media after the final checkered flag of the 2021 season. “I will forever be thankful for what we were able to accomplish together these last 12 years. It’s been an incredible ride, Team Penske.”
After an emotional 2021 season, the No. 2 Ford Mustang team is excited about opening a new chapter in its legacy, beginning in 2022. Bullins will once again lead the team as crew chief, and he will team up with Cup Series Rookie of the Year contender and 2020 Xfinity Series champion, Austin Cindric. The 2022 campaign will mark the first NASCAR season with a rookie racer driving the iconic No. 2 Cup Series Ford and it will be the first time in 20 years that a first-year driver competes full time in the Cup Series for Team Penske.