Joey Logano’s performance this season failed to convince Joe Gibbs Racing into keeping the driver of the No. 20 Toyota in a full-time Sprint Cup seat, but it was Penske material.
Hours after a JGR press conference confirming the signing of Matt Kenseth to drive Logano’s current ride next season, Penske Racing announced the 22-year-old as the wheelman behind the wheel of the No. 22 Ford for 2013.
“Joey Logano is a very talented driver who has already achieved a lot of success at a young age,” Penske Racing president Tim Cindric said in a press release. “Joey is a great fit for our organization and we look forward to building on his success as he takes his place behind the wheel of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford.”
Logano expressed the same sentiments toward joining Penske Racing.
“I am very excited to join Penske Racing and begin the next phase of my career,” Logano said in the Penske press release. “I am looking forward to the opportunity as it will be an honor to drive for Roger Penske and race for wins and championships.”
Logano was a prodigy through the lower ranks of stock-car racing, winning the 2007 NASCAR K&N Pro East Series title at the age of 16 and becoming the youngest winner in Nationwide Series history via a Kentucky Speedway triumph in June 2008.
However, that same success has largely eluded Logano since replacing Tony Stewart as driver of the No. 20 Toyota before the 2009 season. While he has two Sprint Cup wins to his credit, his victory at Pocono Raceway in June is the only one to go the scheduled distance.
Still, a win Saturday night at Richmond International Speedway would leap-frog Logano (18th in points) over Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman and Marcos Ambrose for the final wild-card spot in the Chase.
Meanwhile, Penske Racing fills a full-time void infamously left by AJ Allmendinger’s suspension for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy in July. Sam Hornish Jr., driver of Penske’s No. 12 Dodge in the Nationwide Series, has replaced Allmendinger ever since.
Hornish praised Logano’s signing on Twitter after the announcement:
“Welcome to @PenskeRacing @JoeyLogano Enjoy the ride!,” he tweeted. “I just want to thank my fans for their support as always. It means the world to me!”