Once Again, Team Penske Found the Winning Formula with NASCAR Next Gen Car

The Next Gen car by NASCAR has been around for 2 years now, and despite 2023 bringing various changes to it, one constant remained—Team Penske claimed the Cup Series championship.

Ryan Blaney, not initially a favorite, surprisingly inherited Joey Logano’s 2022 championship title during the 2023 season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

Blaney wasn’t predicted to advance past the first round of the 10-race playoffs due to his performance prior. However, contrary to expectations, he advanced to the second round, thanks to Penske’s approach that turned things around for him.

Roger Penske, the 86-year-old team owner, explained how a certain testing approach led to Blaney’s success in the later stages of the season.

Penske credited Blaney’s crew chief Jonathan Hassler for making crucial decisions based on feedback obtained from various drivers, ultimately contributing to their triumph.

The introduction of the Next Gen car in 2022 shifted the dynamics of preparing a championship car. Previously, teams aimed for custom advantages, but this changed with the reliance on designated vendors for car components.

Crew chief Jonathan Hassler and Ryan Blaney celebrate their Cup Series championship.

Sean Gardner
Getty Images

Cliff Daniels, the crew chief for Kyle Larson, highlighted the major shift due to the Next Gen car, emphasizing the move from custom modifications to complying with standardized manufacturing of car components.

Adam Stevens, experienced in NASCAR Cup Series championships, echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing optimization within standardized parameters rather than physical car modifications.

Additionally, Team Penske’s exclusive focus on Blaney after Logano’s exit proved pivotal. Hassler ensured identical car configurations for all Team Penske cars and meticulously addressed areas of improvement, leading to Blaney clinching crucial victories.


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