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TC Daily Pit Stop: Team Penske Joins Exclusive List of Back-to-Back Cup Champion Teams; Larson Eager to Prepare for 2024 After Near-Miss at Phoenix
TC Daily Pit Stop: Tuesday, November 7th, 2023
As Ryan Blaney crossed the finish line in the runner-up position in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway, he joined the illustrious list of drivers, who have scored a championship in NASCAR's premiere series. That list now features 36 names.
But in the process, Blaney also checked off a significant milestone for Team Penske.
The triumph for Blaney and the No. 12 Team Penske organization marked the fourth NASCAR Cup Series title overall for Team Penske, and it is the organization's second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championship.
It's the first time the organization has ever pulled off a back-to-back title run.
"Back-to-back shows the strength of our organization," team owner Roger Penske stated with pride after the race. "We really weren't that strong in the middle part of the season. As Jonathan [Hassler] and the engineering team, along with Ford, helped us get better and better, you could see how well the Fords ran even here today, I think it was a combination of many things.”
At just 31 years old, Kyle Larson has already built himself an incredible resume in motorsports - one that has led many to consider the Elk Grove, California native among the best racecar drivers in the world. But, from time to time, even the most impressive athletes across the globe fail to close the deal in a pressure-packed, heavyweight fight.
Searching for his second NASCAR Cup Series title in the last three years, Larson came up just one spot short of Ryan Blaney in Sunday's season-finale at Phoenix Raceway, finishing third in the race and second in the championship.
It wasn't from a lack of effort, though, as Larson fought hard to keep the Team Penske driver in his rearview mirror, after his pit crew managed to put him ahead of Blaney for the race's final restart - in a similar fashion to when he won the championship in 2021.
"At the same point, I'm probably coming up this close, more eager for the following season already. I know where I need to improve and I'm just ready to get back on the track and work on all that. Yeah, bummed but also eager to get into the off-season, get working and ready for next year."
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