22 Days until the Daytona 500

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #22 car has started 1,418 races and has 73 wins, 71 poles, 328 top 5s, 548 top 10s, and 330 DNFs.

  • In 1990 Bill Davis was asked by the Ford Motor Company to hire an up-and-coming Midwest driver Jeff Gordon. Gordon won the NASCAR Busch (XFINITY) Series Rookie of the Year in 1991, and won 3 races & 11 pole positions the next year. Davis was hoping to move Gordon and crew chief Ray Evernham to the Winston Cup Series in the #22 car, but they were lured away by Rick Hendrick. Davis still moved up to the Cup Series full-time in 1993 however, with driver Bobby Labonte, who finished runner up to Gordon for Rookie of the Year driving the #22 Maxwell House Ford. The team switched to Pontiac the following season. From 1993-1994 Bobby started the car in 61 races. After 1994, Labonte left for Joe Gibbs Racing.

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  • MBNA replaced Maxwell House as sponsor. Originally, Davis went with another rookie and Busch Series standout Randy LaJoie to drive the car . Midway through the year, LaJoie was fired from the team and replaced by a series of rotating drivers including Wally Dallenbach, who finished 2nd at Watkins Glen.

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  • Finally, Ward Burton  was hired to finish out the year. Ward has the most starts of any driver in #22 with 272 from 1995-2003 including 5 wins. He scored the team’s first win when he won at North Carolina Motor Speedway late in 1995. With Burton at the wheel the #22 team slowly began to improve, despite not winning races. By 1998 the #22 team cracked the top ten in the final Winston Cup (Sprint Cup) points standings and matched those results in 1999 (by which time Caterpillar , Inc. was sponsoring the team) and 2000, when the team finally returned to victory lane at the spring Darlington race. Burton’s second career win was BDR’s last win in a Pontiac as they joined several teams in switching to Dodge Intrepids for the following season. Burton returned to victory lane the following season, winning the 2001 Southern 500, Dodge’s second win since returning to NASCAR, but the team’s streak of consecutive top-ten points finishes was broken at three as the #22 finished 14th. He added two more wins in 2002, scoring a victory  in the Daytona 500  (Dodge’s first Daytona 500 win in 28 years) and later in the year at the New England 300  at New Hampshire, but a series of inconsistent finishes dropped the team to 25th in the final standings. Burton’s win at New Hampshire, in addition to being his last win in Cup racing, was also BDR’s last in Cup racing. 2003 was a season of poorer finishes. He only had 4 Top 10 finishes, and he left Bill Davis Racing with five races left in the season to begin driving the #0 NetZero Pontiac for Haas CNC Racing. He finished the season 21st in the final points standings. Ward is an avid sportsman and conservationist, is the founder and president of The Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation.
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Burton, 1997
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Burton, after winning the 2002 Daytona 500
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Burton, circa 2002

 

 

  • Scott Wimmer was promoted from Bill Davis’ Busch (XFINITY) Team to drive the #22 car following Ward Burton’s departure near the end of the 2003 season. From 2003-2005 Wimmer started 75 races earning only 1 top 5.
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Wimmer, 2004

 

  • For 2006 Dave Blaney, a former driver of Bill Davis’ #93 car, was hired back by Davis to take over the #22 ride. Dave made 104 starts in #22 from 2006-2008. Blaney won the pole for the 2007 Lenox Industrial Tools 300 in New Hampshire, the first pole for Toyota in the Sprint Cup Series. Blaney scored his first top 10 with Toyota at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 29, and later that season finished third at Talladega, the best finish of any Toyota in 2007. Additionally, Blaney was the only Toyota driver in the top 35 in owner points after 2007 season.The team had a rough start to the 2008 season. They missed the Aaron’s 499 which was a hard hit for the team. They came back the next week at Richmond to finish in the 18th position. The following week at Darlington they finished in the 9th position, their best of the year. In June 2008 Caterpillar announced that it would leave the #22 Bill Davis Racing Toyota to sponsor the #31 Richard Childress Racing starting in 2009. The lack of sponsorship eventually lead to the demise of Bill Davis Racing.
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Dave Blaney, 2007

 

  • In 2011 Kurt Busch  began driving the #22 after Brad Keselowski took over the #2 car at Penske Racing. In 36 starts Busch won2 races in the number during the 2011 season. Busch earned his first Budweiser Shootout win after Denny Hamlin went below the yellow line at the end of the race at Daytona. He would go on to win the 2011 Gatorade Duel 1, and because of polesitter Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s crash in practice, which forced him into a backup car, Busch started in first for the 2011 Daytona 500, and started the 2011 season 3 for 3.
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Kurt Busch, 2010

Busch won the pole for and led most of the race at Kansas, for 152 laps. However, a fuel pickup issue late hurt his chances of winning. Teammate Brad Keselowski took the victory. However, a few weeks later on June 26, Kurt finally got an elusive road course victory at Infineon  Raceway. Not only did he win, but he also led the most laps with 76. Because of Brad Keselowski’s injury during a practice crash at Road Atlanta, Busch filled in for Keselowski in his NASCAR Nationwide Series car for the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International, and Busch managed to get the pole and the win. By August 13, 2011, Busch had won 1/4 of all of his Nationwide races. On October 2, Busch won on 2 late restarts beating Jimmie Johnson in turn 1 leading the final 43 laps to grab his first ever victory at the Monster Mile at Dover. After a frustrating final 5 races, things came to a head when Busch launched a verbal tirade against an ESPN cameraman, and giving an obscene gesture to workers when a car blocked his path towards his pit garage following a transmission failure at the same race. Busch’s employment with Penske Racing terminated on December 5, 2011. Although most observers of the sport believe he was fired, Busch claimed in a public statement that the parting was “mutual”: “I am grateful to Penske Racing for six very productive years. Together we won a lot of races — 16 in all. … Coming to a mutual agreement to go our separate ways is a positive step for me.” In contrast, the Charlotte Observer reported several sources confirming team owner Roger Penske decided that Busch’s altercation at Homestead-Miami Speedway was the last straw in his stormy tenure with the team but chose to defer the announcement until after Champion’s Week

 

  • A.J Allmendinger  started the #22 car 17 times in 2012. At the end of the 2011 season, Allmendinger left Richard Petty Motorsports when the driving spot for Penske Racing’s #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge became open after the parting ways of Kurt Busch and Penske. Prior to his suspension, his best finish was a 2nd at Martinsville Speedway. After failing a random drug test on July 7, 2012, Allmendinger was suspended from participation in the Coke Zero 400. Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s senior vice president for racing operations, said that Allmendinger had up to 72 hours to request a ‘B’ test sample. The next day, Roger Penske said before the Honda Indy Toronto race that Allmendinger’s ‘B’ sample would be tested on Monday or Tuesday. Allmendinger requested a ‘B’ sample test on July 9. On July 11, 2012, Allmendinger’s camp said a stimulant caused the positive drug test. The B sample test had not yet been scheduled at that time.
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‘Dinger, 2012

On July 24, it was announced by NASCAR that Allmendinger was suspended indefinitely after the “B” sample tested positive for a banned stimulant, which was revealed to be amphetamines. He chose to participate in the Road to Recovery program. On August 1, he was released from his contract by Penske Racing. Allmendinger was replaced in the No. 22 by Sam Hornish Jr.  for the remaining 19 races of the season; he later stated that the cause of the positive test was Adderall that he had unknowingly taken, being told it was an “energy pill”. Allmendinger was reinstated by NASCAR on September 18 after completing the Road to Recovery program.

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Sam Hornish Jr, 2012

 

 

  • On September 4, 2012, Joey Logano  was announced to be the driver of the No. 22 car in 2013. Logano became the fourth driver of the No. 22 in three years, but had a successful 2013 season, making the Chase, and returned in 2014, becoming the first driver to return to the No. 22 Penske car for more than a single season. In 2014 he was one of the final 4-title contenders heading into the final round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. However, he wound up last of the final four following some mistakes made by his pit crew  and could only produce a 16th place finish. Kevin Harvick went on to win the title.
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Logano, 2013

 

Logano and Penske teammate Brad Keselowski were the dominant force for much of the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup, and Logano swept the entire 2nd round with 3 consecutive victories. His victory at Kansas came at the expense of Matt Kenseth who was spun by Logano in the closing laps. After leading much of the day at Martinsville, Logano was wrecked by Kenseth as a retaliation. Logano would not recover in the next 2 races and would be elminated in the 3rd round.

 

In 2016, Logano qualified for The Chase with a win at Michigan. It would be his only win in the regular season. Logano had mixed success throughout the regular season, earning 9 top-10 finshes in addition to DNFs at Talladega, Kansas, & Kentucky.

At Charlotte, the opening race in the Round of 12, Logano’s day ended early with a series of tire blowouts, leaving him with a 36th-place finish. This was followed by a third-place finish at Kansas. At Talladega, Logano was penalized early when his car left pit road dragging the jack during the first round of green flag pit stops, but went on to win the race in overtime and clinched a spot in the Round of 8. The win marked the third straight restrictor plate victory for Team Penske, after Keselowski’s earlier victories at Talladega and Daytona. A win at Phoenix guaranteed Logano a place in the final 4 at Homestead.

Logano led 45 laps at Homestead and had a significant chance to win his first Cup series championship. With 10 laps left, Logano moved under leader Carl Edwards and wrecked Edwards on the restart. After a 30-minute red flag, Logano’s car was too damaged to contend any further and Logano finished the race in 4th place, finishing second in the standings to Jimmie Johnson.

In the last 4 years Logano has won 15 of his 144 races in #22 and will return to Penske Racing in 2017.

  • Bobby Allison  drove the #22 in 215 races in 1966, 1969-1970, & 1983-1987 with 17 wins and the 1983 Winston Cup Championship.
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Allison, 1985

 

  • Fireball Roberts  started #22 in 151 of his 206 career races including 30 of his 33 wins. Roberts continued to amass victories on the circuit, despite the changes in NASCAR, as it moved away from shorter dirt tracks to superspeedways in the 1950s and 1960s. In his 206 career NASCAR Grand National races, he won 33 times and had 32 poles. He finished in the top-five 45 percent of the time. He won both the Daytona 500 and Firecracker 250 events in 1962, driving a black and gold 1962 Pontiac  built by car builder legend, Smokey Yunick. On May 24, 1964, at the World 600 in Charlotte, Roberts had qualified in the eleventh position and started in the middle of the pack. On lap seven, Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson collided  and spun out and Roberts crashed trying to avoid them. Roberts’ Ford slammed backward into the inside retaining wall, flipped over and burst into flames. Witnesses at the track claimed they heard Roberts screaming, “Ned, help me”, from inside his burning car after the wreck. Jarrett  rushed to save Roberts as his car was engulfed by the flames. Roberts suffered second- and third-degree burns over eighty percent of his body and was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition. Although it was widely believed that Roberts had an allergic reaction to flame-retardant chemicals, he was secretly an asthmatic, and the chemicals made his breathing worse. Roberts was able to survive for several weeks, and it appeared he might pull through. But Roberts’ health took a turn for the worse on June 30, 1964. He contracted pneumonia and sepsis and had slipped into a coma by the next day. “Fireball” Roberts died from his burns on July 2, 1964.
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Fireball Roberts, 1962
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Roberts, 1964
  • Before the team was sold to Bill Davis Racing Sterling Marlin drove the #22 Maxwell House Ford for Junior Johnson for 58 races between 1991-1992.

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  • Ricky Rudd  ran a few races in 1976 and full-time in 1977, again driving the #22 for his father. He had ten top-ten finishes and was named Rookie of the Year. Rudd was forced to run part-time the following season of 1979 after picking up only limited funding from 1st National City Travelers Checks. Despite the abbreviated schedule, he earned four top-tens and finished 31st in points. Rudd started #22 at total of 45 times.

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  • Red Byron  drove #22 a total of 11 times from 1949-1951. His 2 wins in the 1949 season propelled him to the first ever NASCAR Strictly Stock (Spring Cup) Championship.

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Other notable names in #23

  • Dick Brooks, 17 starts, 1 win
  • Art Watts, 7 starts, 1 win
  • Stan Barrett, 10 starts
  • Marvin Panch, 4 starts.
  • Grant Adcox, 3 starts.
  • Darrell Waltrip, 1 start
  • Lennie Pond, 1 start
  • Glen Wood, 1 start
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