NASCAR: Roger Penske pays tribute to Joey Logano
By Kelly Crandall | RACER.com NASCAR correspondent
Team owner Roger Penske paid tribute to Joey Logano after the 28-year-old delivered Team Penske’s second NASCAR Cup Series championship last Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Logano sealed the title after driving away from 2017 champion Martin Truex Jr with 12 laps to go.
“I think when it’s time to go, he’s the guy,” said Penske. “I mean, there’s no question, you’ve seen his restarts. You see him even when he’s in the back he’s able to go for it.”
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Penske brought Logano into the organization ahead of 2013 at a time when Logano had been struggling at Joe Gibbs Racing, delivering two wins in four full seasons. Paired with Todd Gordon at Penske, he picked up one win in 2013 and finished eighth in points. A year later, Logano was in the inaugural Championship 4 with a shot at the title before his car fell off the jack on the race’s final pit stop.
In 2016, he was back in the title race, only to finish second to Jimmie Johnson after sustaining damage to his car during a battle with fellow title contender Carl Edwards. This year was Logano’s third appearance in the finale.
Even though Logano wasn’t well-established when Penske looked to sign him, the legendary owner said he saw Logano as a winner even back then.
“He won, certainly,” Penske said. “I don’t know if it was a Busch Series or what it was, but he was a winner and driving a good car for Joe Gibbs. He’d race and beat Kyle [Busch] sometimes. But overall, I sat down with Joey and his Dad. It was no agents; it was just us sitting down and shaking hands on what we were going to do. [Saturday night], to go to Publix and be able to give 100 families turkeys for Thanksgiving is a little bit that you don’t see of Joey. He’s been in the limelight for the things that maybe people want to talk about, but his philanthropy and what he’s done for these families is just amazing, and just continues to go week after week.
“I saw that in him, I saw that his Dad was behind him, and he and I have become great friends, [along with] his mother, and sister. So look, these people become part of your family, and like Rick Mears and Helio [Castroneves] and just many, many other… Rusty [Wallace] and certainly Brad [Keselowski], and [Ryan] Blaney coming up, and our support of the Wood Brothers… This is a close-knit team, and I think that’s why we’re on the top.”
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