Team Penske Names Ryan Blaney’s New Crew Chief

ryan blaney

Getty Ryan Blaney arrives for a race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Team Penske has provided a major update about the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season. The team has revealed the driver-crew chief pairings, which include the addition of a new name. Jonathan Hassler will join forces with Ryan Blaney.

The pairing is key considering that Blaney’s current crew chief, Todd Gordon, will not return to the team in 2022. The man behind Joey Logano’s 2018 Cup Series championship announced on June 28 that he will retire after the championship race on Nov. 7, ending a 10-year tenure in the Cup Series.

Hassler will make the leap from Wood Brothers Racing to Team Penske to work with Blaney in 2021. He replaced Greg Erwin as Matt DiBenedetto‘s crew chief starting with the June 20 race at Nashville Superspeedway and helped the No. 21 team make positive strides after early-season struggles.

Hassler and DiBenedetto have combined for five top-10 finishes and one top-five since the race at Nashville. Their best outing together was a fifth-place run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Hassler also served as the crew chief for Joey Logano for a May 16 race at Dover International Speedway, which resulted in a top-five finish.

Logano Will Continue a Successful Partnership That Began in 2020

While Blaney will have a new crew chief for the 2022 season, Logano will stick with a familiar partner. He will work for Paul Wolfe for the third consecutive season, continuing a working relationship that began in the 2020 season and resulted in four wins and 20 top-five finishes.

Wolfe spent the first nine seasons of his Team Penske tenure as the crew chief for Brad Keselowski. He partnered with the driver of the No. 2 in 2011 and kicked off a run that featured 29 wins, 110 top-five finishes, and the 2012 Cup Series championship.

Team Penske announced prior to the 2020 season that the top three drivers would all have a new crew chief. Wolfe would leave Keselowski and join Logano while Gordon would part ways with the driver of the No. 22 to join Blaney. Finally, Jeremy Bullins would leave Blaney and join Keselowski.

According to NASCAR, the explanation at the time is that Team Penske wanted a car in the final four, something that did not happen in 2019. Keselowski called the lack of a championship contender unacceptable and said that the changes would help the team bounce back from a year that was good but not great.

These changes worked, especially for Keselowski and Logano. The two Team Penske drivers made it to the championship four in 2020 and faced off with Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott for the Cup Series title. The Hendrick Motorsports driver won the final race of the season and locked up the first title of his career, but Keselowski and Logano finished second and third, respectively.

Austin Cindric Will Work With a Winning Crew Chief as a Rookie

With Keselowski leaving Team Penske at the end of the 2021 season to become a driver-owner for Roush Fenway Racing, there will be a new man in the No. 2 Ford. Austin Cindric will make the leap from the Xfinity Series and immediately face raised expectations.

Achieving success immediately will not be a simple task for Cindric, but he will have a winning crew chief on his side. He will partner with Jeremy Bullins, who has helped Team Penske secure eight total wins in the Cup Series.

Bullins began working with Blaney on a part-time basis in 2014 and 2015 before becoming his full-time crew chief in 2016. The duo continued their partnership until the end of the 2019 season, winning three total races.

Bullins joined forces with Keselowski in 2020 and reached Victory Lane four total times. The No. 2 team flourished under his guidance, resulting in 24 top-10 finishes and 13 top-fives. Bullins and Keselowski haven’t achieved the same level of success in 2021 as all Ford drivers have struggled to contend with Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing, but the duo still locked up a win at Talladega Superspeedway on April 25.

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