Barely three hours after Matt Kenseth was announced as Joey Logano’s replacement in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20, Logano found gainful employment with Penske Racing, where he will drive the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford in 2013.
Logano, 22, beat out Sam Hornish Jr. for the seat, which Hornish has held since former Penske driver AJ Allmendinger was suspended from NASCAR for amphetamine use prior to the July Daytona race.
But in eight starts, Hornish had just one top-10 finish, a fifth-place run at Watkins Glen, so Penske decided to join the youth movement and hire Logano.
In 136 car NASCAR Sprint Cup starts, Logano has two victories, four poles, 16 top-five and 37 top-10 finishes.
Now in his fourth full season of Cup racing, Logano is 18th in points and will have to win at Richmond on Saturday night to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. His best points finish came in 2010, when he ended the year 16th.
Logano was odd man out at JGR because the team hired Kenseth away from Roush Fenway Racing. In 2011, JGR tried to hire Carl Edwards away from Roush Fenway, but was unsuccessful.
“I am very excited to join Penske Racing and begin the next phase of my career,” said Logano in a statement released by the team. “I am looking forward to the opportunity as it will be an honor to drive for Roger Penske and race for wins and championships. I am also proud to represent Shell-Pennzoil as they are a respected global brand that does a great job of activating in the sport on and off the track."
“Joey Logano is a very talented driver who has already achieved a lot of success at a young age,” said Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing. “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’s racing career began when he started racing quarter midgets at the age of six and won his first championship just one year later. After rising up quickly through the racing ranks, Logano became the youngest winner in Nationwide Series history when he won at Kentucky Speedway at the age of 18 in 2008.
Just one year later he won at New Hampshire to become the youngest winner ever in Cup Series competition. Logano went on to be named 2009 Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year.
“We welcome Joey Logano to the Shell-Pennzoil team, and we know he will do a great job representing our brands and Penske Racing in 2013 and beyond,” said Lisa Davis, president, Shell Lubricants Americas. “Joey is clearly a special talent on the race track, and we look forward to working with him off the track as well.”
Penske had talked about adding a third car with Hornish, but that apparently will not happen.
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.