NASCAR Texas 2013: Penske cars overcome pre-race issues to finish in top 10

Jared C. Tilton

Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano may have had their issues beforehand, but both Penske Racing drivers were able to put aside the distractions and leave Texas Motor Speedway with top-ten finishes.

The box score indicated that Penske Racing had a quiet and productive night at Texas Motor Speedway, with both Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski finishing Saturday's race in the top ten. The box score doesn't tell the whole story, however, as the night that the entire Penske organization had was anything but quiet.

The eventful evening began when the cars of Logano and Keselowski failed pre-race technical inspection after NASCAR declared the rear-end housings in their Fords illegal. The 2 and 22 teams were forced to make modifications and there was serious doubt about whether Logano would even be able to take the green flag as it took multiple attempts to get his car through tech.

All the scrambling and last-minute alterations to the rear suspensions put the duo behind from the get go. This was obvious as they struggled from the onset to find speed; at one point Logano and Keselowski both fell a lap down.

But as the sun set, the sky became dark and the track conditions changed, so too did the Penske Fords.

Both teams adjusted their cars accordingly and battled their way back on the lead lap. And when some timely cautions fell their way, Logano and Keselowski were able to capitalize.

Logano started 18th and finished fifth, while teammate Keselowski climbed from his 16th starting position to finish ninth. Neither driver led a lap during the race.

"It was one of the toughest races I think we've ever dealt with and to come home with a top-five out of something like that, we couldn't be more excited about that," Logano said after his run.

"If you would have told me I'd finish fifth today, I'd have given you a hug. I'm pumped up about our finish and the way we got that."

The feeling was similar for the other Penske team, as Keselowski's crew chief Paul Wolfe acknowledged all the hard work that went into finishing ninth and the numerous setbacks that had to be overcome.

But even as he focused on the positives, Wolfe couldn't help but wonder what the race would have been like without all the obstacles.

"Obviously, we feel like without some of the issues tonight we probably would have had a shot at that again," Wolfe said. "We just have to keep working and doing what we've been doing and we'll get our share of wins."

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