Defending series champion, Joey Logano, excited to get 2023 season back going

Joey Logano has a knack for winning first time events. He won the inaugural Bristol Dirt Race in 2021. He last year, won the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at the World Wide Technology Raceway. He also won last year’s Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum too. That win helped kick start a banner year for the Team Penske driver with him also scoring his second career championship last November in Phoenix.

Now, after a three month break full of celebrations, Logano is back in LA on Saturday hoping to defend both crowns. However, is he ready to end a celebration and start a new season?

“Absolutely,” said the 32-year-old Team Penske driver. “I know I’m not anywhere near the end of my career because I can’t wait to get back in a race car.  That’s kind of, to me, the telltale sign of where you’re at and I was very excited about just getting back out here and racing again.  Coming back to the L.A. Coliseum and seeing the track again.  The excitement is the same as it was last year.  Maybe you feel a little bit more comfortable this year because we know a little bit more about what we’re about to get into, but it’s definitely very exciting.”

Logano is now hoping to break an odd trend and that’s only making the Championship 4 in even numbered years. He’s been to five Final Four’s, each came in 2014, 2016, 2018, 2022 and 2022. Can he buck that stat in 2023?

Other trends are against him as well.

Jimmie Johnson is the last driver to repeat as a Cup Series champion. He did so in his five-year reign from 2006 through 2010. Since, no one has repeated as a champion. Jeff Gordon was the last before Johnson to do so as he did it in 1997 and 1998. Since 1995, those are the only two instances where a driver won consecutive titles?

Can Logano accomplish this feat in 2023? Just once in the last four years has the defending champion even made it back to the Championship 4 the following season. Chase Elliott did so in 2021 The last 2 before him were bounced in the Round of 8 and Round of 12 while Kyle Larson this past year was eliminated in the Round of 12 himself.

We’ve also seen a ton of parity in this era too.

We’ve had this playoff format since 2014. In the 9 years of this, we’ve seen 7 different champions.

Logano, isn’t thinking about any of that. He just wants to start a season better. He’s had some slow starts lately and is hopeful 2023 is a much better start.

In 2020, Logano, won two of the first four races then had just one top five and five top 10’s in the next 13 races run during COVID. But, he also had nine top five finishes and 13 top 10’s over his final 15 races too as he marched all the way to the Championship 4. In 2021, he won just once and had only three top fives over the final 20 races. Last year, only two wins in the first 32 races run…Logano does have 6 straight Round of 8 appearances and 8 in 9 tries so he at least is a long run contender.

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