NASCAR Cup Series Season Review – No. 22 Ford Team

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When the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Season opened at Daytona International Speedway in February, Joey Logano was set to embark on his eighth season with Team Penske. Despite his tenure with the team, 2020 would feel almost as new to the Middletown, Conn. native as his first campaign with the No. 22 squad in 2013.

Team Penske reshuffled the crew chief and team lineups for its three NASCAR Cup Series teams entering the 2020 season. As a result, Logano was paired with crew chief Paul Wolfe, who’d won the 2012 NASCAR Cup Series title with Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski. Only spotter TJ Majors remained with Logano on the No. 22 team during the reconfiguration.

The newly-formed No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford team got off to a hot start with Logano winning a second consecutive Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in February. Two weeks later he scored his second career win at Phoenix Raceway. Following the Phoenix race, NASCAR, like the rest of the world, was parked due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the shut down from mid-March to mid-May, Logano and his Joey Logano Foundation unveiled a $1 million relief fund. The foundation targeted organizations in the Charlotte area who were providing needed relief to families struggling with the mass closures and scarcity of items as a result of COVID-19. The fund even provided meals for children who depended on school lunch programs to receive hot meals. Additionally, the foundation continued to provide aide throughout the season, hosting four convoy of hope events at Darlington Raceway, Talladega Superspeedway, Martinsville Speedway and Phoenix Raceway following the completion of the season.

As racing resumed in May, the No. 22 Ford team began exploring new ways to find speed as it has already secured a spot in the Playoffs, courtesy of the two early-season victories. Wolfe and Logano faced some challenges during the summer months as the team tried to find its groove with no practice time because of pandemic restrictions. As the summer turned to fall, the team returned to being the picture of consistency, despite not finding Victory Lane again before the start of the Playoffs. The team came on strong late as it notched eight top-10 finishes in the 11 races leading into the Cup Series postseason.

During the Round of 16, Logano opened with a pair of third-place finishes before a disappointing 11th-place result at Bristol. The No. 22 team advanced to the Round of 12, where the results didn’t not come easy. Logano finished 14th in Las Vegas, 26th after a late-race wreck at Talladega and then the Shell-Pennzoil Ford scored a runner-up result at the Charlotte ROVAL to advance to the Round of 8.

The next round had a perfect beginning for the No. 22 team as Logano charged to the win at Kansas Speedway to lock himself into the Championship 4 race for the fourth time in seven years. The win in the opening race of the round marked the third time in Logano’s career that he won the first race of the round to secure a spot in the championship.

In the title showdown at Phoenix Raceway in November, Logano led 125 laps – including most of the opening stage – and much of the second stage before the No. 22 Ford Mustang fell back to third place at the checkered flag, and eventually in the final season standings. Logano and the Shell-Pennzoil team posted three victories, 12 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes over the course of the 2020 season. After leading 939 laps, Logano recorded his best season laps led total since his six-win campaign of 2015.

The first-year pairing of Logano and Wolfe proved successful and the promise of 2020 has set the expectations high for another championship run for the No. 22 team in 2021.

Not being able to be around each other and not having practice was maybe the most challenging part of the season,” said Logano. “To see where we came from, there was a lot to be proud of this season, so we look at the positives. I’m always a silver lining person. I will say we’ve grown a lot as a team and it makes me really excited for 2021.”

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