No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford
Joey Logano returns to Penske Racing in 2014 with even more to prove, coming off a 2013 campaign that was a game-changer for the 23-year-old driver who has had the spotlight on him from the moment he entered the NASCAR ranks.
With considerable pressure to perform through his first four years in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Logano finally found his stride in 2013 in his first season with Penske Racing. Logano teamed up with second-year crew chief Todd Gordon to help bring stability to the famed No. 22 team and in the process, showed the NASCAR world that Logano can live up to the hype he faced for much of the early portion of his NASCAR career.
Logano would end the season eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after qualifying for his first ever Chase after never finished better than 16th in the points during his previous four full-time seasons. Along the way, Logano earned his third-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, coming at Michigan International Speedway, earned two poles and set career-high marks in a number of statistical categories. His top-fives (11), top-10s (19), laps led (323), races led (15) and average finish (14.1) were all career-bests. In fact, his 323 laps lead nearly doubled the number of laps led through his first four seasons combined.
In addition to his Sprint Cup Series success, Logano continued his success in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, picking up three wins in just 15 starts and helping the No. 22 Discount Tire/Hertz team secure the Owner’s Championship by just a single point over Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and giving team owner Roger Penske the final trophy missing in his NASCAR career. It was Logano’s third-time helping his Nationwide Series team secure an Owner’s Championship (2008, 2012, 2013).
Penske Racing announced in September 2012 that Logano would join the organization in 2013 as the driver of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in Sprint Cup Series competition. His road to NASCAR began when he was just six years old and he started competing in Quarter Midgets throughout the Northeast. He captured his first championship at the age of seven in the 1997 Eastern Grand National Championship in the Junior Stock Car Quarter Midget division. As he continued through the Quarter Midget ranks, he followed up his first title with Eastern Grand National Championships in 1998 and 1999.
Logano began racing Bandoleros in 1999 and quickly became the National Bandolero Bandits Champion. That same year he was also the youngest driver to compete in a Legends car when he made a start as a nine year-old racer. The following year he captured the Bandolero division championships at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.
After winning the Bandolero titles, Logano moved on to Legends cars full time. He set a track record with 14-consecutive wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway at just 12 years old (a record that still stands today) and won the Young Lions National Championship in 2002. Logano also won the Pro National Championship that year, making him the youngest Pro Division Champion in Legends history. Logano then transitioned into Late Models, racing with the Georgia Asphalt Series and Southern All-Star Series while also making headlines by competing in the American Speed Association (ASA) National Tour, one of the most prestigious short track series in existence. In 2004 he competed in the ASA Late Model Series, where he earned five top-five and eight top-10 finishes.
In 2005, Logano took the next major step in his path to NASCAR when he was signed as a development driver by JGR. As part of that development program, Logano made his debut just after his 15th birthday when he started competing in the USAR Hooter’s Pro Cup Series. He earned his first Pro Cup Series victory at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park in just his second start and tallied one win, six top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 14 starts that year. His incredible opening season prompted NASCAR veteran Mark Martin to call Logano the “real deal” at just 15 years of age. Logano followed up his successful first season by winning two additional races in the 2007 Pro Cup Series season.
Logano continued his ascent as a NASCAR driver in 2007 when he made his debut in the NASCAR West Series and visited Victory Lane in his first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Phoenix International Raceway. He also won the NASCAR Camping World East Series season-opening race en route to the NASCAR East Series Championship and Rookie of the Year titles with five wins, two poles, 10 top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in just 14 starts. Logano is also a two-time winner of the NASCAR All-Star Showdown, formerly held every year at Irwindale (Cal.) Speedway.
While having to wait to until he turned 18, Logano made his long-anticipated NASCAR Nationwide Series debut just a few days after his birthday at Dover International Speedway. He quickly found success when he secured his first pole in just his second-career start at Nashville Superspeedway and then became the youngest winner in Nationwide Series history when he won from the pole at Kentucky Speedway in his third start, just three weeks after his 18th birthday. He raced in a total of 19 Nationwide Series events that season and earned one win, three poles and 14 top-10 finishes.
Logano made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September of 2008 and made additional Cup Series starts at Kansas Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.
In his first full Sprint Cup Series season in 2009, Logano recorded his first-career series victory when he took the checkered flag at Loudon. He went on to secure three top-five and seven top-10 finishes. With his early success on the track, Logano earned the distinctions of being both the youngest Sprint Cup winner and pole sitter at 19 years-old and the youngest Cup Series Rookie of the Year in the 55-year history of the award. Over his first four seasons in the Sprint Cup Series prior to joining Penske Racing, Logano earned two victories with his second coming in a duel with childhood idol Martin at Pocono Raceway.
Throughout the years, Logano continued to prove a dominant force in the Nationwide Series as well, including a record setting 2012 season that saw the Middletown, Conn. native lead all Nationwide Series drivers with nine wins, six poles and 1,065 laps led while competing in just 22 of 33 races. Since joining the Nationwide Series in 2008, Logano has earned 21 wins, 23 poles (good for sixth on the all-time list), 61 top-fives and 98 top-10s in just 125 starts.
Logano will now look to build upon what ended up being a career-season in 2013. Gordon returns as crew chief and his team will remain highly intact. With a year under his belt behind the wheel of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion, Logano knows that the pressure is still on him to continue to build the legacy of the No. 22 team. And he knows 2014 is just the next step to doing so.