When Joe Gibbs Racing hired Matt Kenseth to drive the No. 20 Sprint Cup Series car full-time in 2013, the organization planned to put that car’s current driver, Joey Logano, in a full-time Nationwide Series ride, with possibly a few chances to race in the Sprint Cup Series.
But that’s not what Logano wanted. The two-time Cup winner wanted to remain a full-time Sprint Cup driver, so when Penske Racing driver Brad Keselowski talked to him about the opportunity to drive the No. 22 Penske car next year, Logano jumped at the opportunity.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to work with Roger Penske and have a great teammate in Brad Keselowski,” Logano said during a press conference on Wednesday morning.
Sam Hornish Jr. has been driving the No. 22 car since July when previous driver A.J. Allmendinger was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR for violation of the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy.
“He’s (Hornish) going to continue to drive the No. 22 car for the remainder of the year,” Penske Racing President Tim Cindric said.
The current plan has Hornish competing full-time in the Nationwide Series in 2013, piloting the No. 12 car that he currently races full-time in that series, but the ultimate goal of the Penske organization in regard to Hornish is to get him back into a full-time Sprint Cup ride.
“Our first preference would be to put together a third full-time Sprint Cup car,” Cindric said, noting that it’s probably too late in the year to get that done.
The 22-year-old Logano joining the 28-year-old Keselowski in the Penske Racing camp makes for a young Sprint Cup driver lineup for the organization, but according to Cindric, obvious chemistry between the two drivers overrides the presence of an aged veteran.
“We focused a bit more on the chemistry between the two was obvious,” Cindric said.
It also helped that Logano is a Sprint Cup race winner.
“The fact that he’s won at the Cup level set him apart from some of the drivers that were available,” Cindric said.
Shell-Pennzoil will return as sponsor of the No. 22 next year, and the deal with Logano is multi-year, but Cindric would not go into specifics on the exact length of the contract.
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