In 2023, Joey Logano and the No. 22 Ford Mustang team were focused on defending their 2022 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Championship with the goal of winning back-to-back series titles – a feat that has not been accomplished in NASCAR’s premier series since 2010 and never during the current NCS playoffs format.
Fresh off his second career Cup Series crown, Logano picked up right where he left off by powering the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang to a first-place finish in the first of two qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway in February. The performance helped Logano secure a second row starting spot for the 65th running of "The Great American Race" as he and teammate Ryan Blaney led all but one lap in the 60-lap Daytona 500 qualifier. While the No. 22 Ford led six times in the season-opening race, Logano came up one car length short of securing his second career Daytona 500 victory in his 15th attempt.
The No. 22 team continued to show speed throughout February and March as Logano captured pole awards at Las Vegas and Atlanta, marking Team Penske’s only NASCAR pole positions of the 2023 season. In Atlanta, Logano paved the way for Team Penske’s first-ever NASCAR qualifying sweep of the top-three positions heading into what turned out to be an historic weekend for the organization. Logano and the Autotrader Ford Mustang led a race-high 140 laps en route to the driver’s first career victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway - his 32nd career NCS win and his seventh from the pole - while clinching a spot in the NASCAR Playoffs and the chance to defend the Cup Series title.
“It means a lot to get this one in Victory Lane,” Logano said of the win back in March. “It’s been a lot of years coming. Atlanta, this means so much to me to win here. So many memories of driving my Legends car right here where we’re standing when I was nine years old. This is a really special one and a dream come true.”
As part of NASCAR’s 75th Anniversary season, 25 drivers were added to the esteemed “Greatest Drivers” list one-by-one throughout the spring. Logano’s name was called on May 9 as he joined the ranks of the sport’s all-time greats who all came together for a celebration at Darlington Raceway on the morning of the Goodyear 400. Logano’s wife, Brittany, and their three children Hudson, Jameson and Emilia were all in attendance to share in the honor. Logano was one of eight active, full-time drivers selected as one of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers.
Logano and the No. 22 team searched for consistent results during the summer months, but crew chief Paul Wolfe’s strategy calls kept the 22 Crew in the hunt week in and week out. The team produced top-five finishes at Gateway, New Hampshire, Sonoma and Richmond as the postseason approached. Following a fifth-place finish in the regular season finale at Daytona, Logano entered the 2023 NASCAR Playoffs as the 11th-seeded driver to open the Round of 16.
The No. 22 Ford team was tested early in the opening race of the Round of 16 at Darlington Raceway in September as Logano suffered damage to the right front toe link in the closing laps of Stage 1 while running 11th. The results of the contact forced him to make several extended stops on pit road for repairs. Despite giving up valuable track position throughout the 500-mile race in order to adjust the balance on the car, Logano rallied to pick up a 12th-place finish on a night that, at one point, appeared to have the No. 22 Ford positioned below the Playoff cut line heading into Kansas.
The intensity of the NASCAR postseason ratcheted up the following week at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway oval in the Sunflower State as Logano ran inside the top-15 most of the afternoon. Wolfe made a crucial call atop the pit box for right-side tires only on the final stop of the day, as Logano gained 12 positions for the final restart of the race. After starting from the inside of row two with three laps remaining, Logano challenged for the lead coming to the white flag but he ultimately finished in fifth-place. The result placed Logano and the No. 22 Ford Mustang team 12 points above the cut line heading into the Round of 16 race at Bristol.
The night race at “The Last Great Colosseum” ultimately proved to be the end of the Playoff run for Logano and the No. 22 team’s championship defense as the Shell-Pennzoil Ford was collected in a multi-car incident early in Stage 2 of the 500-mile event.
“I knew my situation and what I needed to do, but it’s Bristol and there’s not really many things you do differently depending on your scenario,” Logano said of the on-track incident at Bristol and the team’s elimination from the Playoffs. “There’s nothing I could have done there in that wreck. You don’t go fast enough, you’re in the back and they wreck in front of you at Bristol on a restart. Or, you’re going so fast that you can’t slow up or turn or do anything and you get kind of pile driven into the wreck.”
Despite bowing out of the Playoffs earlier than anticipated, Logano still rallied to pick up three top-10 finishes over the final seven races of the season – including an eighth-place result at Homestead after starting at the tail-end of the field in a backup car due to a practice incident the previous day.
Overall in 2023, Logano and the No. 22 Ford team posted 11 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes throughout the season while also extending their streak of consecutive seasons with a Cup Series victory to 12.
Logano and the team are now focused on 2024 with the goal of securing a sixth Championship Four appearance as the previous five have all come in even-numbered years (2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, 2022). Heading into his 16th NCS season – and 12th with Team Penske – Logano remains one of two full-season, active drivers with multiple Cup Series championships as he and the team are ready to add to their legacy together in 2024.