Candidates for the ride are said to be Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Brian Vickers, and Sam Hornish.
Joey Logano appears to be the leading candidate to take over the No. 22, which was vacated when AJ Allmendinger was released from the team following a failed drug test that resulted in his indefinite suspension from NASCAR. Logano, current driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Home Depot Toyota, may be on his way out at JGR. It appears that the team has signed Matt Kenseth, who announced earlier this year that he would be leaving Roush Fenway Racing, to drive the team’s No. 20 Camry. JGR has indicated that they would like to keep Logano, but that is contingent upon them finding sponsorship.
Ryan Newman could also be a candidate for the No. 22. Newman drove for Penske Racing in the ARCA Racing Series in 2000, and raced in what is now the Nationwide Series in 2001 for Penske. He drove for Penske in the Cup Series from 2002 to 2008, leaving for Stewart Haas Racing before the 2009 season. Newman could re-join his former team owner. But, SHR would like to keep Newman if sponsorship can be found. Army announced it would be leaving NASCAR at the end of the season, leaving without a sponsor for some races next season. Quicken Loans, however, is rumored to be considering stepping up and sponsoring the team for more races next season. If they do, it is highly unlikely Newman would leave SHR.
Brian Vickers could also be a candidate for the No. 22. Vickers currently shares the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota with Mark Martin. Vickers missed a good portion of 2010 due to blood clotting issues. He returned to Red Bull Racing in 2011, but failed to post impressive results. At season’s end, Red Bull Racing pulled out of NASCAR competition, leaving Vickers without a ride. He was unable to secure a full time ride for 2012, and ended up with MWR on a part time basis. Vickers could drive for MWR full time in 2013, but there is nothing to indicate that this is likely to occur.
Sam Hornish currently drives the No. 22 on an interim basis, filling in ever since Allmendinger was released. Hornish has posted somewhat impressive results in the car, finishing fifth at Watkins Glen. He has run six races in the car, posting four Top 20 finishes, including one Top 5. Hornish also drives in the Nationwide Series for the team. He is currently third in points with seven Top 5s and 14 Top 10s. Penske indicated that Hornish would receive consideration for the ride because Penske says that they are loyal to him.