NASCAR SPRINT CUP
and Logano the new kid on the block.
“When these cars are built back at the
shop, they’re all built the same,” Wolfe
says of the Penske Fords. “You can take a
22 [Logano] or a 2 [Keselowski] and just
change the paint scheme on it, bring it to
the race track and it’ll work for either guy.
I don’t believe there are many teams that
can say that, so I think that’s a big reason
for a lot of the success we’ve had.”
Another small, but critical element:
Shell-Pennzoil’s execs love Logano, who
still peppers his conversations with wide
eyes and an occasional “awesome,” “cool”
and “wow.” Considering that the first two
there’s a mutual respect there.”
There was little of that at JGR, where
Hamlin and Busch, two talented and
mercurial personalities, were at times
disdainful of the young Logano.
“There are things we could learn from
Joey,” Busch said after Kenseth was
signed. “But you look at Matt as a
teacher; you look at Joey as a student.
I think I’ll always kind of see it that way.”
A week later, at Auto Club Speedway,
the tables were turned. Racing for the win
on the last lap, Logano got loose, hit
Hamlin and sent him head-first into the
inside wall. The contact fractured Hamlin’s
back, forcing him to miss four races.
But all that is pretty much in the
rearview mirror now. Team boss Penske
likes his lineup and believes both Logano
and Keselowski are title ready.
“The combination of Joey and Brad is
super,” says Penske. “They’re talking every
day. But even more important, Todd
Gordon and Paul Wolfe have really bonded.
“It’s an open book in this team, and to
me that makes the difference,” he adds.
“I’m thrilled with where we are, and I think
we’ve got a great runway for us long-term.”
celebrates with the
No. 22 Team Penske
crew after winning at
Richmond in April.
His second victory
of the season locked
him into the field
for the 2014 Chase.
Shell-Pennzoil/Penske drivers were Kurt
Busch, who famously melted down at
Homestead at the end of 2011, and AJ
Allmendinger, who was temporarily benched
by NASCAR, then released by Penske after
testing positive for the stimulant Adderall
in a drug test midway through ’ 12,
Logano’s a breath of fresh air off the track.
On the track, Keselowski appreciates
his teammate’s aggressiveness.
“Even though we’re going to have
many years and many opportunities, we
both want it right now,” says Keselowski.
“I think Roger likes that about us, and we
like the fact that he lets us be us. So
Prior to Joey Logano joining him at JGR’s
No. 20 Toyota team in 2009, crew chief Greg
Zipadelli had led Tony Stewart to 33 Sprint
Cup wins and two championships. In three
seasons with Logano (BELOW), he added
just two more wins (LEFT, Pocono 2012).