Joey Logano knows that his Championship 4 chances may ride on how much success he has Sunday in Kansas. The other two races, he’s been good at. In Texas, Logano has eight top seven finishes in his last nine starts. He was third back in July and fourth in last year’s playoff race. At Martinsville, he won the playoff race in 2018 and has four top eight finishes in his last five tries. Those tracks he’s fine on.
But, is he facing a must win in those races or can he still points his way by? That’s all dependent on how Kansas goes.
See, Logano hasn’t had the most Kansas success as of late. He was 15th and 17th respectively last year and 35th this past July. Five of his last seven finishes at Kansas have seen him finish 15th or worse in fact. Four of his last five finishes on 1.5-mile tracks this season he’s finished 14th or worse too.
A race like that on Sunday would really put him back, especially with how good Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick are on the 1.5-mile track.
If he starts off on the wrong foot, can he make up enough ground after?
Texas is next but while he’s been good there, like I said, he’s struggled on 1.5-mile speed. He and Team Penske are better on 750’s this season though but will he be fighting his teammate for the win at Martinsville?
Logano, heads to the Round of 8 eyeing a second career championship. He’s in the midst of a strong run of momentum which has him confident.
“Right where I want to be,” said Logano.
“I feel great. We’ve had good speed. I look at Vegas, if we didn’t get the damage, get trapped down a lap there for a minute, we were really good there, capable of winning.
“I look at Martinsville as one of our best races. Texas wasn’t bad for us either. I feel great about where we’re at. I told my wife before we left, I just got to get through today. I feel like we got a good shot at getting to the Championship 4.
“This is such an unknown. This is what had my stomach in knots. Like I said, I’m glad to get through it. I feel really good about our chances.”
Logano said that he expects to be strong on all three tracks next round and expects to get to the final round by virtue of that. The thing is, it’s just hard to improve now without practice. It’s a guessing game.
“Without practice it’s hard to improve a whole bunch on your car,” said Logano. “But you have something to go back on to the last time we were at Kansas and Texas and Martinsville.
“I kind of look at those and say, We’re going to tune from where we were. I thought Kansas we were pretty good. We had a flat tire, ended up destroying our car there. But we were close.
“I feel pretty good about our 550 stuff now. If you asked me that 10 or 12 weeks ago, I’d say we were way off on 550s. Now I feel like we’re in the ballpark and competitive. It just took a little bit for Paul and I to understand what makes the car tick, right? What makes it tick with me? Without practice, that’s really hard to do.
“It’s something I’m proud of, coming here to the Roval for the first time together and having a solid run. I feel like every time we come back for the second time, we should get better. We have been getting better. That gives me confidence for the next few weeks.”