2 Days until the Daytona 500

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #2 car has started 1,805 races and has 86 wins, 65 poles, 476 top 5s, 822 top 10s, and 419 DNFs.

  • Rusty Wallace  has the most starts in car #2 with 522 starts in 1985 & 1991-2005 with 37 wins. Since 1980 Wallace, the ASA star, had made several appearances in NASCAR in the Penske #16 and other teams, but his first full times season was 1984 when he won Rookie of the Year driving #88 for Cliff Stewart. In 1985, his sophomore season of NASCAR, Wallace stayed with Stewart driving the #2 Alugard Pontiac . After one season in #2 Wallace left Stewart’s team to drive #27 for Raymond Beadle’s Blue Max Racing team. Wallace found success at Blue Max winning several races and the 1989 Winston Cup (MENCS) Championship.130222165502-rusty-wallace-old-phone-horizontal-gallery
1985earnhardtwallace_lg
Rusty Wallace, 1985

 

 

In 1991, Rusty  took the Miller sponsorship with him as he returned to Penske Racing, and he continued in the #2 Miller Genuine Draft Pontiac . Wallace and Penske visited victory lane twice in 1991 at Bristol  & Pocono. While 1992 only carried him one win at Richmond, it was the first win for Rusty in a car which was his favorite, one affectionately known as “Midnight”  after the win. “Midnight” would be raced for six seasons, carrying various race wins, before being retired in 1997.

mdoh
Wallace, 1991

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
“Midnight”

Things then turned around for the Wallace and Penske, winning 25 races from 1993-1996. Even with earning 10 wins in a season in 1993, Rusty was unable to repeat his 1989 feat of winning the Winston Cup. After winning one race a piece over from 1997 to 1999, Wallace put together four wins and won nine pole awards in 2000, the highest total of his career.

120426040151-rwallace-retro-richmond
Wallace, 1997

In 2001 Rusty won his only race of the year at California  on the 50th birthday of his fallen friend  Dale Earnhardt. 2002 was a disappointment as he failed to win a race, marking the first year since 1985 that he did not score a win. For the 2003 season the team switched manufacturers from Ford to Dodge .

 

rustywallace2003car-433x193
Wallace, 2003

In 2004, Wallace returned to victory lane for the first time since 2001 at Martinsville , one of his historically strong racetracks. Wallace announced the 2005 season would be his last in NASCAR Nextel Cup, citing his son’s racing career and wanting to concentrate on his Busch Series team, Rusty Wallace Racing, for the departure. Although he wouldn’t win a race during his final season, Wallace qualified for the Chase for the Nextel Cup and finished eighth in series points.

In 2013 Rusty was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame . After his driving career, Rusty has made a career as a Broadcaster for ESPN & NBC. In 2014 Rusty hopped back in the Penske #2 during preseason testing at Daytona  to help the Keselowski team and to provide Wallace with an understanding of the Gen6 car for his broadcasting career.

 

  • For the 2005 season, Penske hired 2004 Nextel Cup (Sprint Cup) Champion Kurt Busch  to take over Wallace’s blue deuce. He quickly returned the team to victory lane by winning at Bristol . Kurt celebrated with by making a snow angel , a reference to the fact that it snowed at Bristol earlier in the week. It was his only win of 2006 as the 2 team finished 16th in the season points. Busch won six additional races with Penske’s #2, his last being the 2010 Coca-Cola 600 , and qualified for the Chase three times, with a best placing of 4th in the final standings. For the 2011 season Busch moved to the Penske #22 car. Busch earned 8 wins in his 180 starts in the #2.
Pennsylvania 500
Busch, 2006
kurt-busch-snow-angel
Kurt Busch at Bristol, 2006

 

  • Brad Keselowski moved from the Penske #12 to the #2 for in 2011. Brad initially struggled for the first half of 2011; however, they did win a fuel-milage race at Kansas. In an ironic twist, the team’s performance started to improve dramatically after Keselowski injured his leg during a testing crash at Road Atlanta. Keselowski and Crew Chief Paul Wolfe grabbed two more wins at Pocono and Bristol, and rallied to make the 2011 Chase field. However, the final 10 races would be an up and down affair for the team, and they were knocked out of contention after finishing 18th at Phoenix. Nonetheless, Keselowski managed a fifth place finish in the points.

2012 would be better still for the team, as Keselowski posted five wins at Bristol, Talladega, Kentucky, Chicagoland  and Dover, with the last two being Keselowski’s first Chase wins. He would ultimately win Team Penske its first Sprint Cup  title after a close battle with Jimmie Johnson.

19nascar3-superjumbo

After 1 win in 2014, Keselowski returned to dominant form in 2014 winning 6 races , second only to his Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano. The celebration for Keselowski’s win at Kentucky ended early when Brad cut his hand  while unsuccessfully trying to open a bottle of champagne. In the Chase, Brad was able to advance to the “Eliminator Round” by earning a clutch win at Talladega , but would fail to make the final 4. Brad’s aggressive driving style caused controversy multiple times in the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup causing conflict with Matt Kenseth , Jeff Gordon , Denny Hamlin, and Tony Stewart.

rpm_g_keselowski_b1_1296x729
Keselowski, 2014

In 2015 Keselowski punched his ticket into the Chase for the Sprint Cup early in the season with a win at Auto Club Speedway in California. It would be his only win of the year, but he would make headlines again at Martinsville where contact with Matt Kenseth would lead to Kenseth later intentionally wrecking Brad’s teammate Joey Logano.

Keselowski started his 2016 season on a high note, leading the most laps of the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona. A late-race caution kept him from winning the race. Keselowski recovered from a bad pit stop to finish 9th. Keselowski didn’t have any promising races at Daytona and Atlanta. However, he got his first Cup win of the season at Las Vegas, passing Kyle Busch with 6 laps to go. Keselowski also won the 10th race of the season, the GEICO 500 at Talladega.

brad-keselowski-030616-getty-ftr-usjpg_uh67qffb0fgy16d597j5tmomn
Keselowski, Las Vegas 2016

Brad would have the best car all night and led the most laps to win the Coke Zero 400 and get his third win of the season. Following that, at Kentucky, he would get his 4th win of the season, and second consecutive win, after a lengthy last 70 laps trying to conserve fuel. Keselowski made it through the first round of the Chase, but in the second round he was eliminated. At Homestead, Keselowski would wreck hard in order to avoid hitting his Championship contending teammate- Joey Logano. Keselowski has 20 wins in 216 starts to date in #2, and he will return in 2017.

 

 

  • Famous for #71, Dave Marcis started the #2 in 136 races from 1971-1978 without earning a win. Marcis drove the Penske AMC #2  in the early 1970s, and would later driveRod Osterland’s #2  through 1978 when he was replaced by a rookie driver from Kannapolis, NC. Former crew Harry Hyde once said of Marcis, “he had the talent to be a champion, if only he weren’t so stubborn.”
mat
Dave Marcis in the Penske #2

 

  • Bobby Allison  drove #2 in 106 races from 1965-1969 & again in 1976 . Allison earned 7 wins in the number.
balliosn68day
Bobby Allison, 1968

 

  • In 1979 Dale Earnhardt  replaced Dave Marcis in Rod Osterland’s. Earning his first career win at Bristol, he defeated future stars Terry Labonte and Harry Gant to win Rookie of the year. In 1980, Dale earned his first at Daytona in the Busch Clash  (The Sprint Unlimited). With wins at Atlanta, Bristol, Nashville, Martinsville, and Charlotte, Earnhardt won his first Winston Cup championship  that year. To this day, Earnhardt is the first and only driver in NASCAR Winston Cup history to follow a Rookie of the Year title with a NASCAR Winston Cup Championship the next season. In 1981 , Osterland sold his team to J.D. Stacy. Earnhardt drove the #2 for half the season before leaving to drive the #3 for Richard Childress Racing. Earnhardt earned 6 wins in his 78 starts in #2.
089904-1-lg
Dale Earnhardt, 1979
rpm_ap_richert2_580
Earnhardt, 1980
dale-earnhardt-riverside-1981
Earnhardt, 1981

 

 

  • Bill Blair  started 78 races in #2 from 1949-1954 including all 3 of his career wins.
bill_blair_2_caddy
Bill Blair
  • Ernie Irvan  ran for Rookie of the Year in 1988 driving DK Ulrich’s #2 car. The underfunded team ran both Chevy’s and Pontiacs, as they received no factory support. After barely losing Rookie of the Year to Ken Bouchard, in 1989  Irvan returned before leaving to pilot the Morgan-McClure #4 in 1990. In his 54 starts Irvan never won in #2.
ernieirvancar89
Irvan, 1989
  • Gwyn Staley  started 42 races in #2 from 1955-1956 with no wins.
2gaddy56-p1
Staley

 

  • Jim Paschal  seems to have raced in just about every number, and he won in most of them. In his 31 starts in #2 he earned 1 win in 1962.
jim_paschal_1
Paschal

 

  • In 1982, the great Tim Richmond  drove the #2 in 25 races for the JD Stacy team earning 2 wins.
2timrichmond1982gabriel400michigan
Richmond, 1982

 

  • When Richmond left Stacy’s team in favor of Blue Max Racing, Morgan Shepherd  was hired to pilot the #2 for Stacy. In his 24 starts during the 1983-1984 seasons Shepherd earned no wins.
2morganshepherd1983gabriel400michiganinternationalspeedway
Morgan Shepherd, 1983
  • From 1961-1962 Tommy Irwin  started 24 races in #2.
161623568
Tommy Irwin

 

  • Other notable names in #2
    • Joe Ruttman, 16 starts
    • Possum Jones, 14 starts
    • Ron Hornaday Sr., 10 starts
    • Mark Martin, 7 starts
    • Donnie Allison, 7 starts
    • Richard Petty, 5 starts
    • Curtis Turner, 3 starts
    • Dick Trickle, 2 starts
    • Herb Thomas, 1 start, 1 win

 

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #02 car has started 294 races and has 0 wins, 5 poles, 24 top 5s, 60 top 10s, and 159 DNFs.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s