Joey Logano's Move to Penske Will
Photo by Wesley Daniel / TheRacingExperts.Com
Joey Logano's 2011 car. Logano's new ride may help jump start his Cup carer.
By Dominic Aragon
February 5, 2013
Disclaimer: All opinions used are solely those of the writer.
Five years ago,
according to owner Joe Gibbs, Joey Logano was a soon-to-be star in NASCAR.
Although he wasn’t eligible to run in any of NASCAR’s three premiere series
until his 18th birthday in May of 2008, much anticipation was around
the young driver to make his debut in NASCAR.
Even the term “The Best Thing since Sliced Bread” carried with Logano into NASCAR.
But Logano’s four year stint with Joe Gibbs Racing can be classified as a disappointment. Logano’s time in the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota only produced two wins and a best of 16th in points in 2010.
Logano’s departure from Gibbs at last season’s end was writing that could be seen on the wall for a decent time now. Although Gibbs had humbled himself and committed to Logano, the 22 year-old driver landed the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford for 2013, a move that was met with controversy. Critics included past champion and ESPN on air personality Rusty Wallace, who blasted team owner Roger Penske, explaining interim driver Sam Hornish Jr. should have been moved to the 22 permanently.
Contract details are not known at this time, but Logano will be driving the No. 22 car for at least 2013. Working with crew chief Todd Gordon, who saw success in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with Brad Keselowski in 2011, will provide the opportunity for Logano to build chemistry and a chance to replicate the success of Keselowski.
With the pieces of the puzzle coming together, Logano’s 2013 season might see similar results that Kasey Kahne had last year in his first year at Hendrick Motorsports.
The reason immediate success is a possibility can be because of two factors.
Being teammates with Brad Keselowski will allow for Logano to share setups with NASCAR’s defending champion. Also, the patience of Roger Penske will allow for the young driver to develop more into a household name in the Cup Series.
Sam Hornish Jr.’s three year full-time stint in Cup produced lackluster results, but Penske did not release the driver. Instead, Penske signed Hornish to a full-time NASCAR Nationwide Series deal in 2011, and has had time now to prove he can race a stock car.
Penske won’t demote Logano to the lower-tier series, but if his strategy with past drivers holds true with young Logano, he will be giving the young driver at least a few years of solid opportunity to become a Chase driver. The equipment he’s in and the people around him will allow Logano to have a career year in 2013.