A Penske Perfect weekend at Michigan and Mid-Ohio

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Roger Penske has to be feeling mighty proud of his NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series squads after a tremendous weekend that saw them both head to Victory Lane in their respective events.

On Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, A.J. Allmendinger dominated and then survived a green-white-checkered finish to earn his second NNS victory of the season. Then today, Joey Logano came through with a Cup win at Michigan International Speedway that put him right in the thick of Chase contention.

Penske called Logano’s victory one of the biggest he’s ever had at the two-mile oval, which he himself owned from 1972 to 1999 before his tracks were purchased by the International Speedway Corporation.

“We bet on Joey when we hired him, and he’s certainly been showing the speed and the skill, and today, winning at our home track for Ford and our Shell-Pennzoil car was outstanding,” he said. “It was a great Penske weekend when you think about A.J. [Allmendinger] down at Mid-Ohio, but for me, [Michigan] is a great track.

“I came here many years ago and we bought the track, and it’s still the best track on the circuit – you can pass and you can race. So, to get this victory is just amazing.”

The win also marked Logano’s first win for Penske since joining the team over this past off-season as the full-time driver of the No. 22 Ford. When asked about how he came to hire Logano, “The Captain” cited not only his inner drive but his ability to work well with the reigning Sprint Cup champion, Brad Keselowski.

“That is key. You have to have that chemistry,” he said. “We are investing in the future and we have two young drivers we would match with anybody today. We are looking long-term. This isn’t about one race at Michigan, it is about the future.”

As for the present, both Keselowski and Logano are looking for a Chase berth, with the latter’s chances boosted considerably by his win over Kevin Harvick this afternoon in the Irish Hills.

Naturally, Penske is hopeful that both of his horses can make it.

“I guess we’ll look at the scoreboard in three more races and find out whether it’s been a success or not,” he said. “But I’m going to tell our guys to do what they’ve been doing, work smart, bring their car home.”

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”