Deja vu for Logano
Keep in mind that 2018 season during which there seemed to be clear NASCAR Cup Sequence championship favorites, after which Joey Logano arrived on the scene? Logano made it to the championship, then led essentially the most laps and gained the title within the finale.
This time round, the Staff Penske driver is getting into this postseason with an analogous feeling primarily based on how issues have unfolded the previous couple of months for his No. 22 crew main into the playoffs.
“We had some rising pains and a few issues we needed to study all through the common season, and we slowly constructed the velocity again up for the playoffs, and the subsequent factor , we gained two of an important races, and we win the championship,” mentioned Logano. “It simply has that feeling to me all through the common season, so I really feel like for these causes I’m as assured as anyone rolling into this factor – in our race crew, and myself, as a result of we’ve been right here earlier than. We’ve achieved this earlier than, so we’re able to rock.”
A constant 10-week stretch is all the time essential, and consistency is what Logano and crew chief Paul Wolfe appeared to have regained. Earlier than being taken out in a late crash final weekend at Daytona – after having led essentially the most laps – Logano was driving a streak of six consecutive top-nine finishes. He’d additionally led laps in three of these six races.
If Logano goes to be a contender, this time round, the favorites are Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. Logano doesn’t really feel his crew is “far off” of being the place these two have been, however he additionally understands there isn’t going to be a lightweight swap to flip to get them there.
“We’re two or three little issues away from that,” mentioned Logano in making his 2018 reference.
Because the fourth seed, Logano enters the postseason with 22 playoff factors. Whereas he has by no means gained at Darlington Raceway, the place the Southern 500 will run Sunday (6 p.m. ET), Logano believes it fits his driving model, and names it amongst his favorites to go to.
Talking of profitable, each of Logano’s victories this 12 months got here earlier than the game paused for COVID-19. Logano gained at Las Vegas and Phoenix, which admittedly feels approach too way back.
“We’re able to win once more,” he mentioned. “We’re getting shut again to that very same level as we had been. To me, there’s little doubt after we went again racing we weren’t the place we needed to be. I even mentioned it just a few instances, nearly (felt) like a misplaced pet, not understanding what street to go right down to get again to the place we should be, and it’s laborious to search out that path with out observe.
“Going to a unique racetrack each week, it’s laborious to develop. It took longer than we needed it to, longer than we anticipated it to, however I really feel like we’re getting actually shut again to the place we had been in the beginning of the 12 months. We will get ourselves ready to win once more, and I really feel like we’re proper at it.
“So, I do really feel fairly good about the place we’re at once more.”