When Kurt Busch won the 2004 Cup Series championship, it was the second straight not just for Roush/Fenway Racing but for Ford’s as well. It looked then like the blue ovals may be the next superior manufacturer in NASCAR.
In the decade of the 1990s, the bowties had won eight championships in a nine year span. But, from the close of the decade (1999) through the mid 2000’s (2004), Ford had started to take over.
In the six years between 1999 and 2004, Ford had won three championships. Chevy had just one. Pontiac had the other two.
Unfortunately for Ford, it’s been all Chevy since.
Chevrolet won the Cup Series title in literally seven straight years after that including nine of the next 10 overall. Ford’s next championship didn’t come until 2018 even.
That’s right, Ford went 13 years without a Cup championship in NASCAR. Now, they’re looking for their second in three years on Sunday.
They’ve won 18 of the 35 races run in 2020 and have half of the championship field too.
Team Penske sends two cars to the Championship with Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. Logano, won at Phoenix back in March and enters with 12 top 10 finishes in his last 14 starts on the season. Keselowski, has three top six finishes in-a-row himself as both have constantly said that the 750 horsepower package is their strong suit.
But, the Phoenix Raceway has not in the past been one of Team Penske’s strongest race tracks. In the 15 years of the spring race being in existence, Penske had never visited victory lane in it. Until this past March.
Logano picked up the victory for his second career Phoenix win. Brad Keselowski led 82 laps himself. Now, can they pick up where they left off?
Past trends say, no.
The driver to win the spring race in Phoenix has only went on to win the series championship just three times – Terry Labonte (1984), Dale Earnhardt (1990) and Jeff Gordon (1995). Can Logano change that course?
Logano, has just three top 10 finishes in his last seven Phoenix starts. He’s had just two top fives in his last nine Phoenix tries overall, both of which being wins though.
Keselowski, has just two top five finishes at Phoenix since 2015 and was only 19th and 10th respectively last year and despite leading 82 laps in March, finished 11th.
Can they win the race though Sunday?