DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In a sport whose landscape is constantly changing with movement among drivers, crew chiefs and sponsors, the watchword at Team Penske is “status quo.”
The Roger Penske-owned organization went a long way toward ensuring its long-term stability by signing seven-year extensions with driver Joey Logano, crew chief Todd Gordon and sponsor Shell/Pennzoil, all of whom will remain integral parts of the No. 22 Ford’s effort well into the next decade.
“We thought if we would extend Shell, it might be a good idea to give Logano a call and see if he’d be interested in hanging around for another seven years,” Penske quipped during the announcement in the Daytona International Speedway media center. “We called Joey, and Joey came down with his team to see us, and I think in two hours, once he heard the good news about Shell, we were able to sit down and put together a long-term contract, which is amazing.
“I think that’s the confidence that he has in our team and also our people… I think we’ve been successful because the driver makes such a difference, because they set the tone at the top, which then drives all the way down to the guy changing the right-front tire and the left-rear tire. So we’re thrilled to have Joey, and he can think about driving and not worrying about his contract, which is probably good for both of us.”
To Logano, the long-term deal isn’t a reason to grow complacent. The way he sees it, the opposite is true.
“A lot of pressure comes along with this, and I love pressure, and I’m glad to have it,” Logano said. “I said it last year at Homestead, pressure is a privilege and it honestly is to have this opportunity to race for Roger Penske and Shell and Pennzoil and what they expect – to go out there and win. I want to have that opportunity and want to be with people that want to win as bad as me.
“So it was a no-brainer for me to look at this and say, ‘Hey, this is working really well.’ I’d love to extend this as long as I can, so when a seven-year deal is thrown in front of you, you obviously jump on that opportunity to go out there and win championships together as a team. So I’m looking forward to the opportunity and looking forward to kicking it off here in Daytona.”
In a sense, Logano already has kicked it off. He won last Saturday’s Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona, the season-opening exhibition race at the Birthplace of Speed.
“We talked about this (deal), and I said, ‘You’ve got to win at least 50 races,’” Penske added. “So of course he sent me (a text) after last weekend: ’49 to go.’”
Penske also indicated the team is making progress in discussions of a long-term extension with driver Brad Keselowski.
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