Roger Penske and Brad Keselowski, celebrating their 2010 NASCAR Nationwide title. But with 40 years in NASCAR why hasn't Penske yet won a Cup championship?
By Mike Mulhern
Joey Logano is certainly landing on his feet.
And still just 22, he's certainly got a lot of upside potential.
However as Roger Penske's newest driver, beginning next season, and with Brad Keselowski's success the past two seasons, Logano may not have a very long honeymoon.
But then maybe Penske himself should be facing more questions than Logano.
After all Roger Penske is, well, Roger Penske, world-renowned.
Yet Penske, for all his talents and resources and history in sports and industry, still has some big holes in his NASCAR resume....despite his 40-some years in this branch of the sport.
Mainly, why hasn't Penske won a Cup championship yet, considering the star drivers he's had driving for him?
And why wasn't Penske more on top of the Kurt Busch situation, as it festered throughout last season?
Why wasn't Penske more on top of the AJ Allmendinger situation, as it developed this season?
And why did it take so long for Penske -- the man who wins Indianapolis 500s like clockwork -- to finally win the Daytona 500?
Sometimes it seems like Penske has been content simply to have fun with NASCAR...put on the headsets and play The Captain.
This season Penske has a chance to change that tune, with Brad Keselowski poised to make a run at the title.
And now Penske's just signed another under-30, Joey Logano.
And it was Keselowski who helped persuade Penske to do the deal with Logano.
"He played a really big role in getting me in here, getting the meeting with Roger," Logano says.
Playing the NASCAR game these days means being a good, contributing teammate. Not just working well out on the track but providing good technical feedback too.
At Joe Gibbs the last few years, it didn't seem like all three drivers and teams were always on the same page. Kyle Busch had his deal, Denny Hamlin had his deal, and Joey Logano was the newcomer who had the unenviable role of taking the place of legendary Tony Stewart, who won two championships for Gibbs.
How well all three got along, well, that's debatable, since there were three different agendas at Gibbs.
Now, though, it looks like Logano may have a more kindred spirit in Keselowski.
"He was the one that called me and said 'Hey, you might want to talk about this. This is a great opportunity for you,'" Logano says of his soon-to-be teammate.
"That means a lot -- to have a teammate that really wants you...that you can work together with.
"He's been doing a great job. To come in here and see what he's been doing, and try to learn from him... hopefully we can learn from each other and make each other better."
Getting essentially kicked out of the Gibbs camp -- last year it was Carl Edwards being wooed to take the Home Depot ride, and this year Matt Kenseth did sign that deal -- hasn't been easy for Logano. Yes, Gibbs has tried hard to keep him in the camp, but unable to find a full-time Cup sponsor.
"We had seen it coming -- There were rumors about it... rumors for the last three years," Logano concedes.
"It's in my best interest to be pro-active, look and see what's out there.
"It's a great opportunity for me to have a fresh, new start.
"When I started in the Cup series, I got thrown into it at a very young age (18), with very, very little experience...and not knowing what I was getting myself into.
"I learned a lot. I feel I am at a point in my career that I know what it takes to go out there and do it.
"Brad and I started our Cup careers at the same time; we've been able to grow, and go through a lot of similar things.
"Being young is something in common; we're able to work the friendship out through that.
"Those relationships with driver-teammates are more important than most people think."
Joey Logano: Roger Penske's newest (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)