2022 Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series Season Review

January 3, 2023

The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) season ushered in a new era in stock car racing and for Team Penske as well. The introduction of the Next Gen car brought an era of parity that NASCAR hasn’t seen in its 74-year history. For the fifth consecutive season, all three Team Penske Ford Mustangs qualified for the NASCAR Playoffs and for the third time in its rich history, the organization captured the Cup Series championship.

Joey Logano started the season on a high note as he won the first-of-its-kind Clash at the LA Coliseum. The week was made even more special by the birth of Logano’s third child just two days after the Clash victory. Speed and consistency were the themes for Logano and the No. 22 team throughout the course of the season. Following unfortunate luck in the Daytona 500, Logano claimed the lead in the series standings by the fourth race of the season. His next triumph came on Mother’s Day weekend at Darlington where Logano guided the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang, racing in the colors of the Team Penske driver’s first quarter-midget, to victory from the pole.

Logano visited victory lane again three weeks later in St. Louis for the inaugural NCS race at World Wide Technology Raceway. The No. 22 team began to hit its stride in late July as the team produced four consecutive top-10 finishes in five races leading into the NASCAR Playoffs. Logano scored two poles and two top-five finishes through the Rounds of 16 and 12 to comfortably lock himself into the Playoff Round of 8. The result set the stage for a golden ticket into the Championship 4, following a win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. A late-race charge past Ross Chastain gave Logano a shot at his second Cup Series title in the season finale at Phoenix.

In his third Championship 4 appearance in the last five years, Logano and veteran crew chief Paul Wolfe executed an impeccable race weekend strategy. A strong practice session led to Logano scoring his series-high fourth pole of the season. Flawless execution on race day saw the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang lead 187 of 312 laps to lock up Logano’s second career Cup Series championship.

Ryan Blaney continued to be one of NASCAR’s most consistent drivers in 2022. The High Point, N.C. native eclipsed career high with 12 top-10 finishes. With first-year crew chief Jonathan Hassler leading the way, the No. 12 team brought solid speed every week. Blaney narrowly missed a Daytona 500 win and the No. 12 Ford captured three poles in four races (Phoenix, COTA, Richmond).

In stock car racing’s all-star night at Texas Motor Speedway, Blaney became NASCAR’s next “million-dollar man” as he posted the race victory. The win marked Team Penske’s fourth triumph in the non-points event (2002 – Ryan Newman, 2010 – Kurt Busch, 2016 – Joey Logano).

Blaney’s consistent results paid off as he was the only driver to lock into the NASCAR Playoffs on points. The Playoffs brought its share of challenges as the No. 12 team advanced through the Rounds of 16 and 12 but came up just short of earning a spot in the Championship 4. Blaney concluded another strong season at Phoenix Raceway by starting and finishing second to teammate Logano.

Austin Cindric’s 2022 could simply be described as a dream rookie season for the Mooresville, N.C. native. In just his eighth NASCAR Cup Series start, Cindric achieved a goal that drivers chase for decades and never achieve – earning the title of Daytona 500 champion. He became the second youngest winner of the “Great American Race” and the first rookie to win the sport’s most iconic event.

Just six days after his Daytona 500 triumph, Cindric put the No. 2 Ford Mustang on the pole at Auto Club Speedway for the first Cup Series pole of his young career. Following the Fontana race, Cindric became the first rookie since Jimmie Johnson in 2002 to lead the Cup Series point standings. Cindric’s road course prowess continued to be on display as he scored four top-10 finishes in the five regular season road course events. He nearly completed a season sweep at Daytona before he finished third in the regular season finale in August.

Cindric became the only rookie contender to earn a spot in the NASCAR Playoffs. With solid finishes, he made in through the Round of 16 and he advanced into the Round of 12. Though he was not able to make it past Round of 8, Cindric’s impressive season performance allowed him to claim NCS Rookie of the Year honors, as he joined Ryan Newman (2002) as the only Team Penske drivers to capture the award.

With a memorable 2022 in the books, Team Penske is gearing up for the start of the 2023 NCS season.  The LA Coliseum will host the first event of the year with the return of the Clash on February 5 before the 65th-running of the Daytona 500 will take the green flag on February 19.