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From the Marbles

State of the Teams ’11: Penske Racing

From The Marbles

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As we draw within sight of the Chase, let's take a look back at how the season has gone so far for NASCAR's top teams. We continue with Penske Racing, which has turned a couple heads this year.

Drivers: Kurt Busch (currently 6th in the standings), Brad Keselowski (currently 21st).

Wins: Two (Busch @ Infineon, Keselowski @ Kansas).

Overall accolades: Four poles, two wins, six top-5s, 16 top-10s, 1 DNF.

High point: Speedweeks, where Busch absolutely dominated in winning the Budweiser Shootout and his Gatorade Duel, and posting a 5th-place finish in the Daytona 500. He'd go into a swoon not long afterward, but has since regained his footing and is a near-lock to make the Chase. Keselowski picked up his first Sprint Cup win since that infamous turn of Carl Edwards at Talladega in 2009.

Low point: In the midst of an early-season fade that saw all the goodwill from Daytona evaporate, Busch spent week after week unleashing hell on his crew. But guess what? It worked. The team bonded and unified, and has bounced right around the top edges of the standings.

Outlook for the Chase and beyond: Busch is the very definition of a streaky driver, so if he happens to get hot in October and early November, he could be in line for his second Cup championship. He can race toe-to-toe with anyone if everything lines up properly for him. Keselowski remains an outside threat to make the Chase; one more win in the next handful of races and he should be in.

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