HOMESTEAD, Fla – Joey Logano is remaining quiet this week. While he said on Thursday that he still considers himself the favorite to win this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, the Team Penske driver said that his driving at the Homestead-Miami Speedway will do the talking.
But, Logano is also an underdog in some people’s minds. See, Logano has just two victories in 2018. One was on a superspeedway, the other on a short track. Martin Truex Jr. thinks the win in Martinsville should have been his and that Logano’s victory total should be one.
Truex, vowed to race Logano differently than any of his three total competitors for this year’s championship in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 (2:30 p.m. ET/NBC/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). He said he has a “free pass” if he needs to move Logano.
For Kyle Busch, a driver that has had many run ins with Logano in the past, most famously in Las Vegas in March of 2017 or in this very race last year, says that despite having a career year in all metrics in 2018, anything less than a championship this season would mean this wasn’t necessarily a successful year. But, if Truex or Kevin Harvick are celebrating on Sunday night, he’d be okay with it. If it’s Logano?
Well he’d be pretty upset.
“I would say it’s certainly been a successful year, but I don’t think it would be truly successful without being able to bring home that championship,” said Busch in Miami Beach on Thursday. “Obviously, that’s what we strive for and live for and build our seasons around each and every year is to be able to get to the final four.
“We know you’ve got to be in it to win it. Certainly, we’ve been there now the last four seasons. We’ve only brought it home in the first year. So got to figure out ways to bring it home every year and have more opportunities to collect these trophies.
“I guess it depends on who you lose it to. Obviously, (Kevin) Harvick’s done a phenomenal job. Those guys and that group have been so good all season long, even in the late stages of last year. You lose it to him, and it’s like, yeah, okay, I can see why they got it. In all honesty, I feel like we’ve been right there toe to toe with them. He wins a week, I can win a week, he wins a week, I can win a week, Truex wins a week, I win a week, he wins a week. That’s kind of the way this season’s gone.”
What about Logano? Would he be disappointed?
“I would agree with that statement. He’s been there. He’s been consistent. He’s been good. He hasn’t necessarily performed to the level of the big three, and that’s no shake on them at all. It’s just the fact of the matter. So if he wins the title over the rest of us, then that would certainly be a little bit more disappointing.”
Logano though has been the hottest driver in the playoffs. The “Big 3” won 16 of the first 21 races in 2018 and eight of the final events in 2017. Over the last 14 races though, they’ve won just three times.
Meanwhile, Logano has the best average finishing position (9.4) in the playoffs. He has six top 10 finishes in his last seven starts of the season. He’s the team that got hot at the right time while everyone else is coming down to earth again.
For that, Logano says is good reason to why he should win the title on Sunday evening in South Florida.
“That’s what the Playoffs are about, right? Logano said on getting hot when it matters. “It happens in all sports. You got to be able to race for wins when it’s most important.
“Like I said, we raced without many Playoff points, so we had to. We don’t have anything to fall back on. We had to go, and we did. It took, like I said, a long time to get to this point.
“Now I feel like we’re back to where we were a couple years ago, we can compete, lead laps, which turns into race wins quite often. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do. Where we were last year was hard. It’s really hard. It stinks, it’s tough. But the fact that we’ve been able to stay together, keep working through it, finding something here, finding something there, go back on something, changing it, maybe going down a different road from things we’ve done in the past, being able to see us get better, awesome. It’s great. It’s hard. Doesn’t happen like a light switch.
“You go down really quick. It’s really hard to climb your way back up, and it’s harder.”
Logano says it’s truly him vs. the “Big 3” and he’s right.