Logano to Penske Could Break Bad Luck of Previous Team Drivers
Changing teams often gives drivers a new beginning and can often lead to greatness. Look at when Dale Earnhardt went from Bud Moore to Richard Childress, as six of his seven championships came in the RCR stable.
Dale Jarrett was with the upstart Joe Gibbs Racing team when he got called to Yates Racing in 1995 to drive in place of a recovering Ernie Irvin. His success led to a two-car team, three Daytona 500 victories, two Brickyards, and a championship in 1999.
Even today's stars see a huge change in attitude and success when changing organizations. Kyle Busch saw his career take off like a rocket when he went from Hendrick to Gibbs.
However, it seems in recent years the Penske organization has seen bad luck in some recent hires, but the hope is the decision to add Joey Logano could change that.
Since long-time Penske driver Rusty Wallace elected to retire in 2005, Penske has seen it's share of good drivers, average drivers, and below-average drivers. Between 2006 and 2012, Penske's race stable in Sprint Cup competition has included Ryan Newman, Sam Hornish, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and A.J. Allmendinger.
Newman gave Penske his biggest career Cup victory in the 2008 Daytona 500, no less with Busch finishing second. He left at the end of that season to join Stewart-Haas Racing, but left on good terms and without incident.
Keselowski is the most recent success story with Penske, making the Chase last year with a monster summer including two victories. This year he is a lock into the Chase with three victories, and is carrying the banner for Penske proudly.
Hornish could be considered an average driver, and was the one called upon in an emergency situation come Daytona. Unlike his previous stint in Cup, he has shown he deserved a shot at the big series. However, with him in a major battle for the Nationwide title, he was not the choice of Penske to come up and fill the No. 22 ride.
Allmendinger had everything going for him, the best opportunity of his career, a strong team, confidence, and a bright future. Sadly, it was snapped away with the failed drug test at Daytona, and has since cost him a ride.
Busch, by far, had the most recent success, minus Keselowski, with Penske, but his final tenure with the team ultimately is what cost him. It wasn't what he was doing on the track, it was more about what he was doing in the car, and in the garage. His attitude towards the equipment he was running, the communication within the team, and his infamous run-in at Homestead with Dr. Jerry Punch of ESPN ultimately were what led Penske to release Busch after last year.
All the bad luck of Hornish, Allmendinger and Busch can't be made up by one driver, but Logano is a driver still that has not gotten to the full potential he's capable of. He had great equipment at Gibbs, there's no doubt, but he came into Cup prematurely, self-admitted.
This time, Logano is making a move where he's still in great equipment, but also is a strong complement to Keselowski. Both have seen great success in the Nationwide Series, with Keselowski having a series championship to his credit. Logano got his second career win at Pocono this season, a race where he won the pole and had the strongest car all race.
Logano certainly is capable of getting his break-out moment with Penske, just like Keselowski did last year with his run to the Chase.
This will also end a minor streak of bad-luck drivers for Penske, who is still seeking his first Cup championship. With Ford now back with Penske, Logano is going to be in equipment capable of winning each race, just like in Gibbs. He's going to have a young gun driver as a teammate in Keselowski, and he's going be under extreme pressure to see success, just like when he entered Cup competition in 2009.
Just maybe, this is the break Logano needs to finally become the star he is capable of being.