Is Team Penske's front-row lockout proof it's caught up with Gibbs?

For most of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Team Penske has been in the same position as most of the other teams in the garage: chasing the all-conquering Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas.

JGR and its partner team Furniture Row Racing have won eight of the first 13 races of the year, leading 58.51 percent of the miles run on the schedule to date.

But Team Penske isn't far back and may actually be closing the gap.

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Friday afternoon at Pocono Raceway, Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano swept the front row in qualifying for Sunday's Axalta We Paint Winners 400 at the three-turn, 2.5-mile track.

Starting up front, of course, is no guarantee of victory, but it was a strong statement from Team Penske and Ford Motor Co. And it isn't like they've been slouches this year; Keselowski has a pair of victories at Las Vegas and Talladega and Logano won the recent Sprint All-Star Race with Keselowski second.

Still, sweeping the Pocono front row was the kind of performance the team wants to see more of.

"I think we are in a great position for our long term futures as both drivers, teams, companies, all of the above," said Keselowski, the 2012 Cup champion. "That is bound to pay off with results. We just have an incredible opportunity right now with our group to race as elite competitors for a long time. It is up to us to make that happen."

Certainly, Friday was a big step in that direction.

"Yeah, it was a really solid effort for Team Penske to get 1-2," Keselowski said of the team's qualifying effort. "That is really hard to do, I can tell you that. We had great speed, obviously."

Although Logano admitted he was frustrated to wind up second, he's hoping to get his first points-race victory of 2016 on Sunday.

"This has been a good race track for us in the past and we possibly could have won the race here the last time we were here if we had a little bit more fuel," said Logano. "I am excited every time I come to Pocono."

Sunday night -- weather permitting -- we'll know if the Penske boys are even more excited or whether they're still playing catch-up.