WATKINS GLEN, N.Y — Story by Race Chaser Online Associate Editor Kyle Magda — Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America photo — NASCARmedia.com audio —
NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chief Todd Gordon led Joey Logano and the No. 22 team to the championship four last season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The end result didn’t pan out, but the organization rebounded to kick off 2015 with a bang by Logano winning the 57th Daytona 500. Since then, the duo has gone winless on the Cup side and came within three laps of winning last Sunday’s Cup race at Pocono.
This week, Logano decided to run Saturday’s Zippo 200 for more track time, with Gordon calling the shots on the No. 12 Snap-On Tools Ford. Logano wasted no time in setting fast times throughout practice, qualifying and the race to take the lead for the final time on lap 54 for his first-road course win in NASCAR’s top-three series.
The win was special for Gordon, as he grew up in Camden, New York, located 47 miles Northeast of Syracuse.
“It’s a special place, this is home for me,” Gordon said of Watkisn Glen. “I grew up about two-and-a-half hours north of here, so this is the closest we get to where I grew up.”
Sautrday’s Zippo 200 coincides with the 65th-anniversary celebration held the same night at Oswego Speedway, home of the super modifieds. There is a special $5 admission at the track’s event, with the Budweiser International Classic looming less than a month away.
“If I weren’t racing here, I probably would’ve made the drive up there if the garage closed on the Cup side,” Gordon said. “Started racing at Oswego. Cool place, the Steel Palace and great to see a recovery they’ve been able here to make the last couple of years and it sees like car counts and everything is coming back there.”
“It’s kind of fun to be home, honestly.”
Victory lane is nothing new at the Glen for him, as Gordon claimed his first win there on top of the pit box of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford for Kurt Busch in the XINITY race in August 2011. The crew chief won five more times that season with Brad Keselowski, including the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
After the success in NXS, Roger Penske appointed Gordon to crew chief on the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford for A.J. Allmendinger. Amidst Allmendinger’s struggles on-and-of the track, Sam Hornish Jr. recorded a top-five finish in the car, with Gordon at Watkins Glen later that August. The turmoil that Gordon faced during 2012 made Penske choose to make Gordon calls the shots for Joey Logano and the two have stuck ever since.
Before joining the NASCAR ranks, Gordon built his own small-block super modified as a senior engineering project at Clemson University and eventually won a feature with it, so his ties to New York go all the way way back to the super modified days.
Gordon has seven Cup wins with Logano and will look to sweep the weekend tomorrow in the 30th annual Cheez-It 355 at the Glen. The green flag drops for Sunday’s race drops shortly after 2 p.m. ET and can be seen live on NBC Sports Network.
Audio from media center with crew chief Todd Gordon: