The 2022 Cup Series season was unique as 19 different drivers reached Victory Lane behind the wheel of the Next Gen car. The field was closer together in terms of competition, something that Joey Logano expects to continue.
The reigning champion met with media members on the morning of December 1, and he provided comments about a wide variety of topics. One of the biggest was the amount that the Next Gen car changed between the Busch Light Clash and the season finale at Phoenix Raceway.
“I know it’s gonna continue to change,” Logano said. “We’ve probably gotten maybe half to three-quarters of the low-hanging fruit at this point. I still think there’s a lot more low-hanging fruit to be able to grab as far as setups and the little things. The little details before we get to the point of where we were with the old car, where we’re just like getting a little here and a little there.
“But I think you’ve already seen the field get closer throughout the year, right, as teams are starting to figure things out. There’s not as much separation in the field, which you’re going to keep seeing as we go to these racetracks a second time.”
Logano Wants More Next Gen Wins
The 2022 season was strong for Logano and the No. 22 team. They won four points-paying races while also capturing the Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum. The dominant performance at Phoenix Raceway just capped off the season.
While Logano was excited about adding the second Cup Series championship trophy to his collection, he wasn’t fully satisfied. He knew that multiple other trophies had slipped through his grasp, which could have put him within reach of the all-time record.
“I still look at the ones we lost and think, ‘Man, we should have like five of these things,'” Logano said. “It just didn’t work like that. So that’s what makes them so special because you make the championship four and it’s great. But if you don’t win, it means nothing afterward, right? I’ve been through those losses. I’ve lost more than I’ve won. So it’s an interesting feeling.”
Logano made one thing clear during his morning media availability — he wants more championships. He and Kyle Busch are the only active drivers with two, but he wants to be the only active driver with three.
Roger Penske Sees That Fire Within Logano
Repeating as Cup Series champion is no simple task. No one has been able to do this since Jimmie Johson in 2006-2010. However, Logano believes that he will be able to achieve this goal.
Roger Penske, the owner of the team, has similar faith in the driver of the No. 22 Ford Mustang. He knows that Logano has a fire within him, which comes out when he dons the helmet and climbs into the race car.
“Well, he’s hungry,” Penske said during a media session in Nashville. “He puts the helmet on, and I’ll tell you, he’s a different guy. Off the track, with his foundation — maybe you didn’t know this, but in , the night before the race in Homestead, he and Brittany were handing out turkeys to homeless people in Homestead.
“So that’s the kind of guy he is. You don’t see that in many cases, but he’s got a very soft side. On the other hand, when he gets to helmet on… He wants to go again. We’ve got the same team. So we should be able to compete now. A lot of great talent out there and new talent, young talent. Teams and the cars brought us closer together. But I think we’re someone they’re going to have to beat in 2023.”