Crew chief Todd Gordon: Joey Logano’s lack of experience won’t hurt him at Homestead


Joey Logano has won the most races out of NASCAR’s Championship 4 this season with five, but compared to the three drivers he’ll be racing against for the Sprint Cup this Sunday at Homestead, he’s still somewhat lacking on experience.

Thanks to his early start, it feels like the 24-year-old Logano has been around longer than he really has been. But this is only Logano’s second Chase, and his first with a true shot at a title.

However, his crew chief, Todd Gordon believes that with everyone getting used to the new Chase format, such a potential drawback is neutralized. Furthermore, he thinks Logano has already proven this post-season that he’s capable of going wheel-to-wheel with veterans Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Newman.

“I think if you look at the performance that Joey is able to give on every restart that we see, if you look at what he’s able to do on the last run of every race, and the ability to maximize points and positions, I think we’ve had some races — if you look at our average finish through the Chase, it’s been exceptionally good,” Gordon said during a NASCAR teleconference this afternoon.

“A lot of that is given to Joey and what he does on late restarts. I think we’ve recovered from — he’s recovered great finishes out of average race cars a couple times here throughout the Chase.”

Over the last two races, Logano has overcome various degrees of adversity to keep his championship going.

Two weeks ago at Texas, Logano was running up front when lugnut problems on a late-race stop and a subsequent tire failure on-track knocked him as far as 26th place. But a rash of late cautions gave him chances to get back much of the lost ground and finish 12th.

Then, in last weekend’s Eliminator Round finale at Phoenix International Raceway, Logano was hit with a penalty for removing his gas can from the pits and fell a lap down – only to rally out of the hole and finish sixth, which was enough to earn him a spot in the Championship Race by nine points.

After those instances, Gordon’s faith in Logano is resolute.

“Yes, he’s young and he’s never been through this race, but I don’t think anybody has been through this race,” he pointed out. “There’s always a difference. Kevin was in the championship run last year, but he was 30 to 40 points behind. [Logano] was in an ‘All I’ve got to do is win.’ It’s a different thing because there’s four cars that are tied, all equal in points.

“It’s a different format and it’s one race to get it done. I think Joey has the mental maturity and his ability to focus in when he needs to be very successful in this format.”

That same faith also applies to the whole of the No. 22 Team Penske squad, whom Gordon also feels has performed admirably during less-than-ideal circumstances.

“I’m proud of the way that the guys, everybody here has responded to the adversity the last two weeks and identified what we can do differently to resolve those situations and move forward,” he said.

“And also trying to look at other things, what else can happen, the what-if factor. Guys have done an awesome job here, and Team Penske has done a fabulous job preparing us for that with all the support here at the shop.”

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing

Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.