The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs are two races deep, and several drivers are in danger of falling victim to the first round of cuts. Team Penske’s Joey Logano is not among this group as he is quietly putting together a strong, consistent performance.
The driver of the No. 22 Ford Mustang has not drawn much attention during the first two races of the playoffs. He has simply gone out and contended for top-five finishes while avoiding major problems. Logano turned in an eighth-place run in the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 5. He then followed it up with a fifth-place finish in the Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders at Richmond Raceway on Sept. 11.
Logano is currently 40 points above the cut line with one race remaining in the Round of 16. The three drivers ahead of him in the standings have already secured their spots in the Round of 12. Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. each won races to move on while Kyle Larson accrued enough points. One of Logano’s teammates, Ryan Blaney, is fifth overall with 28 points to the positive.
Consistency Is Key for Team Penske & Logano
The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford has not yet been able to keep pace with Hamlin in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry or Larson in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. His stock car just hasn’t had the same level of speed, continuing a trend from the regular season. However, he has still kept himself in contention by simply focusing on consistency.
Logano met with NBC Sports after the conclusion of the Sept. 11 race and discussed another run inside the top 10. He explained that he didn’t quite have the speed, but he still had the opportunity to stack some points at the best possible time.
“That’s about where we were – a fifth-place car. Maybe sometimes a little better, sometimes a little worse depending on the kind of run,” Logano told NBC Sports. “I’d say we averaged out as the fifth car and that’s where we finished. We got some good points. I think we were third in the first stage and fifth in the second and a fifth finish, so that’s some good points.
“I don’t know where that’s gonna stack the Shell/Pennzoil Mustang up in the playoff standings, but it should put us in a decent spot going into Bristol next week. That’s what it’s all about right now. It’s about being solid and getting every point, so we’re getting them. We’re doing what we’ve got to do. We’re grinding them out, but had nothing for the Gibbs cars tonight.”
Logano Turned a Corner After the Regular Season
The consistent runs have taken place at the perfect time for Logano considering how his regular season ended. The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford finished outside the top 20 in the final three regular-season races, suffering damage to his stock car each time.
The issues began at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Logano and several other drivers crashed in Turn 6 due to a piece of curbing. Several slid out of control, but the No. 22 violently hit the tire barrier and suffered extensive damage. Fortunately, Logano avoided injury in the collision.
The issues continued at both Michigan and Daytona. Logano first fell victim to NASCAR’s damaged vehicle policy 12 laps prior to the end of the Michigan race, sending him to the garage while Blaney won. He then suited up at Daytona and led 37 of the 165 laps, locking up a Stage 2 victory. However, Logano suffered a flat right rear tire after Hamlin forced him into the wall. He finished the regular-season finale race 23rd overall.