Skip to main content

Team Penske preview: Big expectations, predictions for the 2023 season

Team Penske ended the 2022 season with its third NASCAR Cup Series driver's championship. Let's dive into previews for each of the team's drivers.

Team Penske
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Team Penske ended the 2022 season with its third NASCAR Cup Series driver’s championship and it came in dominant fashion. The expectations for this season are sky-high as they look to go back-to-back.

Let’s dive into every Team Penske driver’s outlook for the 2023 NASCAR season.

Austin Cindric aiming for a big second year with Team Penske in the NASCAR Cup Series

Austin Cindric
Oct 23, 2022; Homestead, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Austin Cindric (2) waves to the race fans along the front stretch before the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Cindric started off his rookie season in the NASCAR Cup Series with an unthinkable situation. Cindric, 24, won the 2023 Daytona 500 and gave himself the freedom to simply race without as much pressure during the season.

The driver of the No. 2 car for Team Penske took advantage of this situation and produced a stat line of one win, five top-5 finishes, nine top-10 finishes, and a 16.3 average finishing position. Cindric also finished in 12th place within the point standings.

It was a fairly successful opening campaign for the 2022 Rookie of the Year Award winner. Cindric was not on the level as his teammates, as expected, but still managed to secure Team Penske a full team bid for the championship.

Entering his second season, Cindric will look to take an even bigger leap. He ran well enough to suggest that a victory on a non-superspeedway track is coming sooner rather than later at this point.

It would be a surprising outcome if Cindric does not find himself in the 2023 playoffs and the expectations should be set for that goal. The 24-year-old driver should be expected to win another race this season.

Cindric may not be on the level of his teammates again; however, it will be interesting to watch his development. In fact, he might be among the drivers who have a breakout season in 2023 if the development exceeds expectations.

Related: Team Penske driver Austin Cindric wins Daytona 500, NASCAR world reacts

Ryan Blaney’s outlook at Team Penske in 2023 and beyond

Ryan Blaney
Nov 4, 2022; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney during qualifying for the NASCAR championship race at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Blaney’s 2022 season almost ended in several different ways that range from good to bad. Blaney, 29, barely squeaked into the playoffs over Martin Truex Jr. and almost won the final race of the season at Phoenix Raceway after being knocked out of the playoffs.

On one hand, the driver of the No. 12 car for Team Penske should be proud that he was competing in the championship race for a victory but it probably hurts to know that if he was a title contender, it could have been a different ending.

Blaney finished without a victory for the first time since his rookie season in 2016 and had a stat line of 12 top-5 finishes, 17 top-10 finishes, and a 13.6 average finishing position. Obviously, it had to be disappointing to not win but the future looks bright.

The 2023 season could be Blaney’s time to finally shine as an elite driver. The 29-year-old has admittedly been good but not great thus far in his career. Blaney has been good enough to make deep runs in the playoffs but nothing further.

Perhaps, Blaney could finally break through as Team Penske is bound to be one of NASCAR’s powerhouse teams once again. With his best career finish in the point standings being seventh place, the expectations are a little higher this season.

Blaney should be expected to make the Round of 8; however, it feels like he could be on the verge of breaking through as the organization’s best driver. The North Carolina native should have expectations set at multiple victories with a high ceiling.

Related: 5 best NASCAR Cup Series drivers for the 2022 season, including Team Penske

Joey Logano looks to go back-to-back for his third NASCAR Cup Series title

Joey Logano/Team Penske
NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano speaks during the NASCAR Awards Show at Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. Nascarawards 120122 An 013

Joey Logano ended the 2022 season as the NASCAR Cup Series champion which is a goal that every driver chases when they strap into their cars for the Daytona 500. It might not have been the most dominant overall season but the final race was pure domination.

Logano, 32, had a down season in terms of top-5 finishes, top-10 finishes, and average finishing position; however, his mark of four wins represented the most since his six-win season in 2015.

The driver of the No. 22 car for Team Penske labeled himself as the championship favorite in the week leading up to the playoffs and he clearly backed it up. The victory at Phoenix Raceway made him the second active driver with two or more titles alongside Kyle Busch.

Now, Logano has to use the momentum from his championship performance to defend what is rightfully his ahead of the 2023 season. Last year represented up-and-down performances throughout the season but winning when it mattered.

This year should represent Logano putting his foot down and saying he is the best driver in NASCAR right now. At only 32 years old, it seems likely that Logano can kiss the trophy again and why can’t it be this November?

The expectations are clear. It is championship or bust for Logano moving forward. Every season needs to be a Championship 4 appearance and no one is going to doubt him this time around.