A significant milestone is in the making for Paul Wolfe, the 2012 NASCAR Cup Series championship-winning crew chief who is atop the No. 22 Team Penske Ford pit box and paired with the 2018 Cup champion Joey Logano. When the green flag waves in this weekend’s Cup Playoff race at Kansas Speedway, Wolfe will call his 350th Cup career race as a crew chief.
A native from Milford, New York, Wolfe graduated from Milford Central School in 1995 before beginning his racing career as a driver five years later. From 2000 to 2004, Wolfe competed in the Busch North Series. He also competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series from 2003 to 2005 for teams that include Tommy Baldwin Racing, Evernham Motorsports and FitzBradshaw Racing. During his brief career in the Xfinity circuit, his best result was 10th place at Nashville Superspeedway in June 2005.
The following season, he became a crew chief for FitzBradshaw Racing. From 2006 to 2009, Wolfe worked as a crew chief for FitzBradshaw Racing/Fitz Motorsports, Braun Racing and CJM Racing in the Xfinity Series. He was also a crew chief in the Busch East Series for 11 races with Ruben Pardo. During that time, he also worked with drivers like Carlos Contreras, Mike Skinner, Scott Wimmer, Mike Bliss, Patrick Carpentier, Robby Gordon, David Stremme, Josh Wise, Marc Davis, Jason Leffler, Ryan Newman, Andrew Ranger, Trevor Bayne, Kelly Bires, Mike Bliss, Scott Lagasse Jr., Brian Scott and Denny Hamlin.
In 2010, Wolfe was named crew chief for Brad Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge team for owner Roger Penske for the NASCAR Xfinity Series season. The pairing between Wolfe and Keselowski clicked as they achieved six victories, five poles, 26 top-five results and 29 top-10 results throughout the 35-race schedule. Two races prior to the season’s conclusion, Keselowski and Wolfe locked up the 2010 Xfinity Series championship over Carl Edwards and recorded the first NASCAR title for Roger Penske.
Following a productive 2010 season, Wolfe was promoted as a Cup Series crew chief for the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge driven by Keselowski while still representing Roger Penske for the 2011 season. In Wolfe’s first Cup race as a crew chief, Keselowski finished in 29th place in the 2011 Daytona 500 after being involved in a late accident. Following the first 12 races of a slow start to the season, Wolfe and Keselowski achieved their first victory at Kansas Speedway in June following a late fuel mileage battle. They went on to win at Pocono Raceway and at Bristol Motor Speedway, both in August, as Keselowski made the Playoffs and concluded the season in fifth place in the final standings. Overall, Wolfe and Keselowski also achieved a pole, 10 top-five results and 14 top-10 results throughout the 36-race schedule.
In 2012, Wolfe and Keselowski emerged as a championship threat to Jimmie Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team while achieving five victories, 13 top-five results and 23 top-10 results throughout the season. Following a long battle throughout the postseason stretch, Keselowski entered the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a 20-point advantage over Johnson. When Johnson dropped out in the closing laps due to a mechanical issue, Keselowski was able to cruise to a 15th-place result at Homestead and claim his first Cup championship. The 2012 championship in NASCAR’s premier series was a first for Roger Penske and for Wolfe in his sophomore season in the Cup circuit.
In 2013, Wolfe and Keselowski started the first 10 races with seven top-10 results. In April, at Texas Motor Speedway, Wolfe was fined $100,000 and suspended for six races after the Penske cars driven by Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano failed pre-race inspection due to issues with the suspension systems prior to the Cup race at Texas. Later, Wolfe’s suspension was reduced to two races, including the non-point All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as Kevin Buskirk, leader of Penske’s testing program, served as an interim crew chief for Keselowski at Darlington Raceway and at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.
Following his two-race suspension, Wolfe returned atop the No. 2 pit box with Keselowski at Dover International Speedway in June. The combo, however, did not make the Playoffs and were unable to defend their series title due to inconsistent results over the summer and fall months. Nonetheless, they achieved their first victory of the season at Charlotte in October. When the 2013 season concluded, Wolfe and Keselowski achieved one victory, one pole, nine top-five results, 16 top-10 results and a final points result of 14th place. By then, Wolfe surpassed 100 Cup races as a crew chief.
Wolfe remained as Keselowski’s crew chief for the 2014 Cup season. During that season, the combo were competitive on the track and they rebounded from a disappointing 2013 season by achieving six victories, four poles, 16 top-five results and 19 top-10 results before concluding the season in fifth place in the final standings. During the season, Wolfe was absent for the second Cup races of the season at Phoenix in March due to his wife going into labor a day before the main event. Veteran Greg Erwin filled in as Keselowksi’s interim crew chief.
From 2015 to 2016, Wolfe and Keselowski won five races and tallied four poles, 25 top-five results and 47 top-10 results, with a best result of seventh place in 2015. Following the 2016 season, Wolfe surpassed 200 Cup starts as a crew chief.
In 2017, Wolfe was present for 32 of the 36-race Cup schedule with Keselowski and the No. 2 Penske Ford team. He missed three of the first 11 races of the season due to the No. 2 car driven by Keselowski issued with an L1-level post-race penalty after the event at Phoenix in March. He was also absent for the Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in June due to the birth of his second child. During his four-race absence, engineer Brian Wilson served as Keselowski’s interim crew chief. For the other 32 races and with Wolfe’s presence, Keselowski won three races as he also achieved two poles, 12 top-five results and 17 top-10 results. After making the Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, Keselowski and Wolfe went on to finish in fourth place in the final standings.
From 2018 to 2019, Wolfe and Keselowski won six races and tallied three poles, 25 top-five results and 39 top-10 results. In both seasons, they finished in eighth place in the final standings. Following the 2019 season, Wolfe surpassed 300 Cup starts as a crew chief.
For the 2020 season, Penske shuffled its Cup crew chief lineup and paired Wolfe with Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford team while Keselowski was paired with veteran Jeremy Bullins. It only took two races for Wolfe and Logano to achieve their first Cup victory together at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in February following a late shootout. Two races later, they won for the second time of this season at Phoenix Raceway in March following another late shootout. Currently, Wolfe has achieved 31 Cup career victories between Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.
Through 32 Cup races this season, Wolfe and Logano have achieved two wins, nine top-five results and 17 top-10 results. They are one of eight teams still in contention for this year’s Cup championship as they are entered in the Round of 8 in the Playoffs.
Catch Wolfe’s milestone start at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, October 18, at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.