In NASCAR Cup Series competition the #2 car has started 1,841 races and has 89 wins, 67 poles, 491 top 5s, 843 top 10s, and 424 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 Championship.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
- 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.
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.
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 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 scored 3 victories in 2017 including Atlanta, Martinsville (Spring), and the Talladega Playoff Race. These victories would propel Keselowski into the Championship 4 where he would finish 4th in points. Brad has 252 starts in #2 with 23 wins to date, and he will return to the #2 in 2018. Brad has already won The Clash at Daytona, the first non-points race of 2018.
- 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.”
- Bobby Allison drove #2 in 106 races from 1965-1969 & again in 1976 . Allison earned 7 wins in the number.
- 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.
- Bill Blair started 78 races in #2 from 1949-1954 including all 3 of his career wins.
- 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.
- Gwyn Staley started 42 races in #2 from 1955-1956 with no wins.
- 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.
- In 1982, the great Tim Richmond drove the #2 in 25 races for the JD Stacy team earning 2 wins.
- 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.
- From 1961-1962 Tommy Irwin started 24 races in #2.
- 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.
- Curtis “Crawfish” Crider, 42 starts
- Doug Cooper, 42 starts
- Mark Martin , 39 starts
- Hermie Sadler , 34 starts
- Bob Cooper , 21 starts
- Dick Brown , 14 starts
- Johnny Gardner, 13 starts
- Dave Marcis , 9 starts
- Ryan Newman , 8 starts
- Joey Logano , 1 start
- Dale Jarret, 1 start