Column by: ANTHONY PALOMBO / RPW – PHOENIX, AZ – On a sunny Sunday afternoon in the Arizona desert, Joey Logano now teamed up with crew chief Paul Wolfe, won at Phoenix Raceway. This, his second of the season after just four races. All in part to Roger Penske shuffling around the crews & crew chiefs in the offseason within the NASCAR Cup Series organization.
Paul Wolfe, formerly Champion, Brad Keselowski’s crew chief, has now been set with the No.22 of Joey Logano. Joey’s former crew chief, Todd Gordon is now with Ryan Blaney. Leaving Jeremy Bullins with Brad Keselowski. Most big Cup organizations do this type of shuffle occasionally to stir up results.
Not many educated fans are surprised to see the early success come in the pairing of arguably one of the best crew chiefs around the garage in Wolfe and 2018 Series Champion Logano. This shuffle has led to early success for the duo. It has also parlayed to good results on track for Blaney as well. If not for some misfortune in two races thus far, Ryan would certainly be leading the points. As for Brad, the risk taker of the bunch, it has not paid off yet. However, that could change this weekend in Atlanta, where he is the defending race winner.
Internal shuffles usually take a little time to grow as you have different thought processes between the driver and crew chief. A certain vocabulary and trust has to be attained. It appears this has been substantially curbed thanks to the leadership from Roger Penske. Great cars and engineering go a long way in this sport. Penske has some of the brightest engineering minds behind the scenes that make their cars near the fastest in the garage. Unique among their engineering group, Penske has pulled resources and personnel from Formula 1 to apply their craft in NASCAR. A unique approach that has paid off in dividends for his entire racing organization.
This weekend, the NASCAR pack is off to Atlanta Motor Speedway. This old 1.54 mile surface promises to put on a good show with the current package. There is truly no clear-cut favorite heading into the weekend, which will make for an interesting Cup Series race.