Found September 05, 2012 on Fox Sports:
Penske Racing made the safe choice. By selecting Joey Logano to drive the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford in 2013, team owner Roger Penske will not have to deal with the drama of a champion. Nor will he have to contend with the insecurities of a driver who has yet to taste victory in stock car competition or a racer who is far from being a weekly contender. Sure, Logano is far from ready to compete for the Sprint Cup championship, but give him time. "He was the right guy for us," said Penske Racing president Tim Cindric. And in an organization historically known for not having a one-team concept, Logano received the blessing of Brad Keselowski. It was actually Penske's alpha driver who recommended Logano pursue the ride. "He played a very big role in getting me in here and getting me a meeting with Roger," Logano said. "And that means a lot to have a teammate that really wants you there, that you can work together with and he's been doing a great job. "To come in here and see what he's been doing and try to learn from him and, hopefully, we can learn from each other and make each other better race car drivers and make our teams the best we can." The opportunity to have both teams on the same page should enable certain walls to come down that have existed since the company expanded to two cars in 2000. The new partnership with Keselowski and Logano has the potential to strengthen Penske Racing as it transitions back into Ford and acclimates to the new 2013 cars. "Brad had come to us last year and mentioned Joey's name," Cindric said. "He felt as though he was certainly someone he could work with and work well with. That chemistry is so important to not only have the crew chiefs and the guys that can work together but also have the drivers that can communicate off the track. "They need to help the team move forward together rather than force the other people internally to pick a side. It needs to be Penske Racing. And once they get on the racetrack, they can sort out who wins the race. But that's a big positive to this situation is the relationship that those two have developed." Logano is also keenly aware of the responsibility he'll have to rebuild the No. 22 team and its relationship with the sponsor. "I think working with the 22 team and bringing some stability there with Shell/Pennzoil is a great opportunity for me to go out there and win some races and try to win the championship," Logano said. Although Logano was rushed into NASCAR's top tour four seasons ago, the 22-year-old has exhibited flashes of potential. Under the direction of veteran crew chief Greg Zipadelli, Logano won a rain-shortened race at New Hampshire in his 20th career Cup start. Although he didn't win in his sophomore season on the tour, Logano doubled his top-five and top 10 finishes and finished a career-high 16th in the point standings. During the third year, however, it was clear that Zipadelli was looking for an out. Although Logano had improved in laps led in each of the first three years, a rash of three failed engines relegated the driver -- and Home Depot -- to a historically substandard finish of 24th at season's end. Zipadelli's departure at the end of 2012 to join his former driver Tony Stewart offered Logano the opportunity to work with Jason Ratcliff -- a crew chief Kyle Busch says he would love to have calling the shots on the No. 18 if he "didn't have Dave Rogers." Together, Logano's progress appeared to blossom again. Fourteen races into their partnership, the team won at Pocono from the pole. But Logano has yet to establish the necessary consistency to be a serious contender for the Chase. Still, current team owner Joe Gibbs tried in earnest to retain Logano in some fashion. The timing simply didn't work out. "We tried a number of things trying to get it to work, so that we could keep all four (drivers), and nothing clicked," Gibbs said. "I think at the end there, we still had a package there, but when you took our package, and he had a chance to have other opportunities, he felt like one of those was better than what we had. "There's no question that he's a Cup driver, and he's passionate about that. One of the things we were trying was four (Cup) cars. We tried a little bit of everything. Originally, that's what we were after was to keep him driving Cup, but it just didn't work out for us." Still, during the past four years there have been lessons learned by Logano. He has had to add leadership skills to his repertoire. He has had to fight through the rumors of being dumped for other drivers or whispers of his inability to step up to the level of his fellow Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Busch and Denny Hamlin. And he had to gain the self-assurance and skill to separate him from the mid-pack drivers and move to the next level. "I've become pretty tough over the last few years," Logano said. "I've been dealt a couple of tough hands. You hear the rumors, and most of the rumors are probably true. You definitely learn how to be tough, how to stay confident. "At first, that was very difficult for me because I didn't know how to do that. I had some help with that and surrounded myself with a lot of good people to be able to deal with that and dig yourself out of a hole. I felt like we were able to do that throughout this year." For Penske Racing and Cindric, who acknowledged Logano's "character is proven," he shouldn't have to worry about meltdowns with the media captured on video or partying until the wee hours of the morning with his newest driver. Cindric compared Logano's personality to current racer Sam Hornish, "who represents the brand and Penske Racing very well." And with the challenge Cindric has of "righting" the No. 22 program, a pleasant yet milquetoast personality should serve the sponsor well particularly playing off of Keselowski's more outspoken role. Still, after Logano's experience with Busch and Hamlin, there won't be nearly the pressure of dealing with a sole teammate. Over time, it will be curious to observe the relationship between the teammates as Logano becomes more assertive on and off the track. "I work very hard and expect a lot out of myself," Logano said. "I don't think I accomplish everything I always want to because I'm shooting at the moon. If you shoot for a top-10 finish, all you're going to get is a top-10 finish. You have to shoot for wins. You always want more. They may call me greedy, but I think that's just the competitiveness in me to always want to be better. "I started at the Cup Series at a very young age, with very, very little experience, not knowing what I was getting myself into. I learned a lot. I'm at the point now in my career that I know what it takes in my career to go out there and do it. I feel like this gives me a fresh start to come here at Penske with Shell/Pennzoil and try to put everything I learned to the best use I know how to and do the best I can." And a "fresh start" away from Joe Gibbs Racing could be just what Logano needs to move out of the shadows and establish his own light.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Logano to join Penske Racing in 2013

Penske Racing announced Tuesday that Joey Logano will join the team in 2013 and drive the No. 22 Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The 22-year-old Logano is a two-time winner on the Cup Series in his fourth full season. He is leaving Joe Gibbs Racing for the seat that opened when AJ Allmendinger was released after a failed drug test. Logano was also the youngest winner in Nationwide...

Joey Logano AdvoCare 500 Race Recap

Joey Logano qualified ninth for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  It was a career-best qualifying effort for Logano at the 1.5-mile facility. When Logano woke up Saturday morning, the 22-year-old found himself extremely ill.  As a result, Logano missed both of Saturday’s practice sessions and was not able to fine tune his No. 20 Home Depot...

Gibbs Confirms Logano’s Plans; Nationwide Plans

During the press conference to introduce Matt Kenseth as Joe Gibbs Racing’s new driver, J.D. Gibbs explained what they had planned to do with Joey Logano, had they kept him, and what they want to do with the Nationwide Series teams in 2013. When they began talking to Kenseth, the plan was to put Logano down into the Nationwide Series full time with a couple of Sprint Cup Series...

Joey Logano to Penske Racing in 2013

Joey Logano, current driver of the No.20 Home Depot Toyota is leaving Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and headed to Penske Racing in 2013. This was officially announced today with a press release from Penske Racing which you can read below. Logano was faced with a choice when JGR signed Kenseth, it was unknown what car Kenseth would drive initially, it all depended on if Logano was to return...

Joey Logano Federated Auto Parts 400 Race Preview

Despite all of the news that came out between Joey Logano and the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota this past week, Logano remains solely focused on one thing – winning this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway and making the Chase.  This weekend marks the last chance for Logano to make the Chase before the 10-race playoff begins.  Logano is one...

Penske needs sponsors for Cup starts for Hornish

Penske Racing says it is trying to put together a Sprint Cup Series schedule for Sam Hornish Jr. next season. For now, the plan is for Hornish to run another full season of the Nationwide Series in 2013. Hornish was passed over for the open No. 22 seat at Penske Racing in favor of Joey Logano. But Penske president Tim Cindric says Hornish is still a part of the plan, and the organization...

Changing Places: Kenseth, Logano switch teams

((ht: nascar.com)) Matt Kenseth/Ctsy: MattKenseth.com Well, NASCAR's version of the Carousel has begun, only a little bit earlier than normal. Matt Kenseth made it official today and was announced, well actually, presented as the newest driver for the Joe Gibbs Racing team. Kenseth is leaving long-time partner Roush-Fenway racing after 15-years. And he will be replacing...

Brian Scott Virginia 529 College Savings 250 Race Preview

Dollar General will have representation on two Nationwide Series entries this week at Richmond International Raceway. Their signature yellow and black Toyotas will be driven by DG Racing Nationwide Series regular Brian Scott (No. 11 Camry) and his 18-year-old teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. (No. 20 Camry). Friday night will be Scott’s seventh career Nationwide Series start under the...

Matt Kenseth to Joe Gibbs Racing: What the Signing Means for Sam Hornish Jr.

Matt Kenseth announced today that he will pilot the No. 20 Toyota in 2013 for Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth will fill the seat currently occupied by Joey Logano. With Kenseth coming that means Logano is out next season and JGR president J.D. Gibbs made it sound today that Logano would be heading to Penske's No. 22 ride next season. Gibbs said, "Logano wasn't thrilled, but...

Recapping The Silliness: A Look At Kenseth & Logano Deals

On Tuesday months of speculation was put to rest when Matt Kenseth was announced as the new driver at Joe Gibbs Racing. During their press conference, it was implied that Joey Logano, whom Kenseth was replacing, was going to Penske Racing. So just a few short hours after Kenseth was announced, Logano was announced by Penske as their new guy. Below is a closer look at each driver’s...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.