HOMESTEAD, Fla – Thursday was the day that all four Championship 4 drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series had their turns on the microphone and in front of hundreds of media members to discuss the past 35 races of the season and outlook their prospects for a potential 2018 championship on Sunday. One of the four drivers though, well he chose to remain kind of silent.
Joey Logano, a driver who has riled up controversy with all three of his competitors he’s competing against this weekend, decided that silence was his best answer for how to get through to Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 (2:30 p.m. ET/NBC/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) down the street at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“Learned a lot from my 10 years of doing this (laughter),” Logano said on why he didn’t participate much during the media session for all four drivers. “Sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut, just go out there and kick ass. That’s just what you do. You go out there to win, that’s pretty much it.
“I’m not going to talk to talk. I’m just going to go out there and race my car.”
See, Logano had a chance to speak up but his competitors chose to instead. When asked to size up their opponents, Kevin Harvick said, “It’s the exact same four organizations that were here last year. Three of the four.” Truex, a driver Logano has his most recent spat with said, “Yeah, it just depends on whether Brad (Keselowski) or Joey (Logano) are better drivers. I’m not sure,”when referring that the two Penske drivers have traded places the last three years.”
“They both run into you a lot,” when talking about Keselowski and Logano.
“Probably best I keep my mouth shut on this one.”
That’s something he didn’t do a lot of in the past but now was able to do it on Thursday. He was poked and had every chance to speak up, but he didn’t take the bait.
Last weekend, Logano riled some folks up when he vowed that he was the favorite. Busch and Harvick have each won eight races a piece in 2018. Truex, has four wins himself. Logano, well he’s visited victory lane just twice. A lot pointed that out. Logano, heard it and despite laying low this week, he still feels he’s the favorite.
“I didn’t mean to stir anything up,” said Logano. “I just felt like I was. I still do. I’m not trying to stir the pot when I say that. I feel like what we’ve been able to do the last 15 races to get into the Playoffs, during the Playoffs, all through this point, we’ve been able to execute under a lot of pressure without many Playoff points behind us.
We’ve been able to get our way through each round, really by the time we get to the cutoff race, because we’ve been able to execute under the pressure, get the stage points. Now we’ve been leading the races, getting stage wins.
“Pit crew has been on it. Grabbing a race win, maybe the most important one of all year, to get us ready for this one here, Miami.
“Yeah, how do you not feel confident in that? You have to. I’m sure, like I said up there, everyone else feels confident, that they’re the favorite. I just said it. I’m pretty sure they think that, too. If you don’t, then just go home, right? You got to feel confident in yourself, otherwise you’re wasting your time out here.”
Logano said that he was humbled by not making the playoffs last year. He finished second in the standings in 2016, then struggled for much of 2017. Now, he’s back again and went from the finals, to not making the playoffs at all, to back again.
“I think you finish second in the points, you think making the Playoffs is a given. That’s going to be easy. We quickly found out that is not a given. It’s a little harder than you think. We learned a lot last year as a race team. We dug hard. We’ve slowly scratched and clawed our way back to where we are. Didn’t come till about 10 weeks ago.
“Like I said, we scratched and clawed throughout a lot of this season to find a little bit more speed, a little bit more, a little bit more. We kept ourselves up there in points all season, but we weren’t in contention to win, like I said, last 15 weeks or so.”
Logano, said that it’s him against the “Big 3” and that he still feels like with the momentum that they have, this is his to lose on Sunday.
“All season long, the big three have been talked about so much this year earlier in the season. They’ve won so many races and so many stages and led so many laps. Honestly, I guess maybe it was 15, 20 weeks ago, we weren’t in the championship caliber that we needed to be to be able to compete with them.
“Now, I will say since that time we are. I feel like we do have what it takes to compete with them and give them a run for their money. Like I said, it’s the big three and me. I might be the underdog on the stats standpoint, but we sure don’t feel like we are.”