Before Joey Logano, Fireball Roberts & Bobby Allison made the No. 22 famous
Joey Logano had a great 2015 season, winning a series-high six NASCAR Sprint Cup races in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford.
Logano has been on a tear the last two seasons, living up to the promise he showed as a teenager racing Legends cars in Atlanta.
But before Logano was born — long before he was born, in fact — the No. 22 enjoyed considerable success in NASCAR Premier Series races.
Florida native and NASCAR Hall of Fame member Edward Glenn Roberts Jr., known in the racing world by his nickname "Fireball," started racing the No. 22 in the 1950s and won 30 races in it, most of any driver.
In 1956, Fireball won five races in the DePaolo Engineering Ford owned by Pete DePaolo, himself a former driver and the winner of the 1925 Indianapolis 500.
The next season, Roberts won eight times, splitting time in DePaolo’s car and his own.
From 1958-60, Roberts never ran more than 10 races a season. In ’58, he drove for car owner Frank Strickland, collecting six victories in just 10 starts in a Chevrolet.
In 1961, Roberts took over one of the most iconic rides in NASCAR history, the black and gold No. 22 Pontiac owned by Smokey Yunick. Roberts won the Daytona 500 in Yunick’s Pontiac in 1962, along with the July Firecracker 250 at Daytona.
Tragically, Roberts died as the result of severe burns suffered in a crash at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1964.
Nearly two decades later, another NASCAR Hall of Fame member, Bobby Allison, would enjoy great success with the No. 22. In 1983, Allison won his only NASCAR Premier Series championship in the No. 22 DiGard Buick, with Gary Nelson as his crew chief. Nelson would later serve as the Winston Cup Series Director.
After Allison, the next driver to win in the No. 22 was Ward Burton, who won the first Cup race of his career at Rockingham in 1995, where he drove an MBNA-sponsored No. 22 Pontiac for Bill Davis.
All told, Burton would win five times in the No. 22, most famously capturing the 2002 Daytona 500 in one of Davis’ cars, this time a Dodge.
Davis’ team shut down after 2008 and the No. 22 didn’t reappear until 2011, when it became Kurt Busch’s new number at Team Penske. Busch won a pair of races in the car and his successor Logano now has won 12 times in it, so it appears the No. 22 is good shape for the near future.
Now today’s bar bet question: How many different manufacturers have campaigned the No. 22 in a NASCAR Premier Series race?
The correct answer is 13. Dodge leads the way with 390 races. Then it’s Ford (345); Pontiac (302); Buick (149); Chevrolet (90); Toyota (73); Hudson (38); Plymouth (38); Oldsmobile (23); Cadillac (3); and Chrysler, Jaguar and Mercury (1 each).
The No. 22 by the numbers:
Wins by driver: Fireball Roberts, 30; Bobby Allison, 17; Joey Logano, 12; Ward Burton, 5; Kurt Busch, 2; Red Byron, 2; Dick Brooks, 1; Art Watts, 1.
Top 5s: 312
Top 10s: 522
Average finish: 17.22
Average start: 15.8
Laps led: 18,255
All stats provided by driveraverages.com