2017 started off as good as one can for Joey Logano. He won the Clash at Daytona, then jumped out of the gates with eight top six finishes in the first nine races. That stretch ended with a win at Richmond in a Penske 1-2 finish.
But, that win was later encumbered.
To me, that encumberment was the turning point of the entire season. All the speed that they had prior to that costly penalty was gone.
Logano, 27, had just five top six finishes over the remaining 27 races of the year, a feat that left him well short of a playoff bid. It was the first time since he joined Team Penske in 2013 that he wasn’t a part of NASCAR’s postseason. In fact, 2017 was his worst season since his last one he had with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2012. It was a harsh disappointment that the Connecticut native was shocked by. He just finished second in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings one season prior and had such a good start, then to end the way it did, it left a bad taste in his mouth.
“I didn’t see that coming at all,” Logano said. “You think making the Chase is kind of a given. I was blindsided.”
He said that a lot of times in sports you see great teams come back after a championship and you’re like what happened? He thinks the same can be said for his No. 22 Ford team.
Now, Logano is hoping the speed they found at the end of the season can translate over to a better 2018. While his Penske teammate of Brad Keselowski is saying that Ford will have a big disadvantage in the speed and aero development compared to their two rival manufacturers in 2018, Logano is staying positive.
He says that you can’t get too caught up in all of that yet and said that his optimism is the same as always heading into a new season. If it was anything different, you wouldn’t be a very good race car driver.
The big difference for Logano this year is he has a new member in his motorhome on race weekend. He and wife Brittany welcomed a new baby into the world in the offseason as it’s definitely a big adjustment for them. Logano says that they have worked in shifts through the night on baby duty and that they will take it as a trial and error method on how to deal with a baby and a full 36 race season.