Roger Penske talks with his drivers about avoiding Daytona 500 repeat
After his cars wrecked dueling for the lead on the last lap of the Daytona 500, car owner Roger Penske said he would talk with his drivers about how they should race each other on a superspeedway shortly before Sunday’s Talladega race.
Brad Keselowski confirmed the meeting took place Tuesday via Zoom.
Keselowski said Wednesday night that Penske “talked through some different scenarios. I don’t think there’s any perfect answers, but there is good spirit, and I’m looking forward to this weekend.
“I think Talladega is a lot different than the Daytona 500. There’s more room to race, a lot of other different things that go on, the way the cars drive is significantly different. I don’t really think I have a lot of concern about us to be quite honest.”
A common philosophy among teammates at Daytona and Talladega is that they try to help each other until the final laps and then focus on winning.
“Everybody has their own definition,” Keselowski said of how to race teammates. “I know it’s not fun for anyone at Team Penske to have two cars, first and second and another one (13th), so three cars in the top (15) in the biggest race of the year, and all three of them come back on a hook. That’s probably not what anybody would say is acceptable, but I think there is a spirit of ‘Hey, we should all be trying to win the race for sure.’ ”
Asked if nothing changes, Keselowski said: “I don’t think so, but I don’t know if I have a great answer to that.”
Joey Logano led on the final lap of the Daytona 500, and Keselowski was second. They made contact as Keselowski attempted to pass Logano, triggering a fiery crash that collected eight cars, including Austin Cindric in another Penske entry.
After the race, Keselowski said of the incident: “I had a big run down the backstretch. Went to make the pass to win the Daytona 500, and it ended up really bad. Don’t feel like I made a mistake, but I can’t drive everyone else’s car. Frustrating.”
A few days after the race, Logano said: “I don’t think anyone did anything wrong. Everyone is gonna have different perspectives, and I think that’s probably where we’re gonna be. To me, the biggest heartbreak of this whole thing is that there are 400 people at Team Penske asking where their Daytona 500 bonus is, and it’s up in a ball of flames up in Turn 3 right now.”
Penske said in March that he talked to each driver individually after the Daytona 500 and would continue that conversation “so we’re all running on the same page.”
The message he said he would to convey before Talladega?
“I think we’ll talk about a number of subject matters that are just like that,” Penske said. “What’s the right thing, because at the end of the day if you have three or four cars in the race, only one is going to win.
“But if one wins, the whole team wins, so we cannot forget that. These guys are contracted with us. They’re part of the success we’ve had. I think after the situation at Daytona we’re going to have some good, solid conversations, and I think we’ll hopefully come up with something that will be meaningful.”
Penske then added: “I’ve always said in the past, ‘Let’s go for it in the last 10 laps, but let’s take care of ourselves until we get there.’ Now, I might have to change my tune based on what I saw at Daytona.”