With his victory Monday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway, Joey Logano has established himself as a championship contender early on in the 2014 season. There is no question that Team Penske as a whole has its arms around this new rules package here in the early going.
Joey and his teammate Brad Keselowski have been fast at every track we’ve been to so far this year. Brad already has a win and now Joey has joined him in the victory ranks. They both have been fast in practice. They’ve already won poles. We all knew it was more a question of when, not if, Joey would win this year.
Joey spent his first four years over at Joe Gibbs Racing. While he did win a couple of times driving the No. 20 car, overall it really didn’t work out as well as either side had hoped. With his move to Team Penske at the end of 2012, Joey literally went from possibly not knowing what his future was going to be to Victory Lane Monday at Texas, let alone being a contender week in and week out in 2014.
When it comes to a car and a driver’s performance, there are four areas that you need to look at. Those four categories in my book are your motor program, your driver, aero and chassis. Team Penske gets its motors from Jack Roush, so Penske’s power isn’t any better than what the other Fords are getting.
As good as they are, you can’t say that Joey and Brad are head and shoulders better than the other Ford drivers such as Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and the others. So that leaves aero and chassis, and while there were some minor changes in the offseason with the spoiler height and some underneath things on the car, the biggest change was this no ride-height rule.
These cars are now down on the racetrack all the way around the track. I see that as the biggest area that Team Penske has made great gains. The organization seemed to be able to get its arms around it a lot quicker than the other organizations in our sport, and obviously is taking advantage of it right now.