Logano’s Season to Date and Ongoing Slump

by Tucker White On Fri, Jun. 16, 2017

Joey Logano leads in the closing laps of the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Photo: Tucker White/SpeedwayMedia.com

Joey Logano started the season strong with top-five finishes in all but three of the first nine races. But following his win at Richmond International Raceway, his season turned south fast.

Logano opened the season with a victory in The Clash exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway. He followed it up with finishes of sixth in the Daytona 500 and a week later at Atlanta Motor Speedway. When the sport went west, he finished fourth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 31st at Phoenix International Raceway after a late wreck and fifth at Auto Club Speedway.

Back east, Logano finished fourth at Martinsville Speedway, third at Texas Motor Speedway and fifth at Bristol Motor Speedway.

It was at Richmond where he scored his first points-paying victory of the season with a win in the Toyota Owners 400. But a few days later, his victory was declared “encumbered” when, upon further inspection at the NASCAR R&D Center, his car didn’t meet up to NASCAR rules, specifically regarding the truck trailing arm. This meant he has docked 25 points, dropped to fifth in points and the win couldn’t be used to qualify him for the playoffs.

The following week at Talladega Superspeedway began his present five-race slump. He was part of a multi-car pileup on the backstretch with 20 laps to go and walked away with a 32nd-place finish. At Kansas Speedway six days later, he suffered a right-front tire blowout, hooked Danica Patrick into the wall and rear-ended the wall himself, walking away with a 37th-place finish.

Logano’s last three races have included lackluster performances of 21st at Charlotte Motor Speedway, 25th at Dover International Speedway and 23rd at Pocono Raceway.

This slump and the encumbered finish at Richmond has dropped him from fourth in points to 11th heading into Michigan International Speedway. It’s also taken him from a 7.2 finishing average in the first nine races to a 27.6 in the last five.

Logano says this last month has not been fun.

“You have to keep life in perspective a lot of times with what you are doing out there,” Logano said. “One of funniest comments, maybe not the truth but, someone said, ‘We aren’t curing cancer out there, we are just trying to make circles really fast.’ It is something we can fix. This team is strong. We have been through this stuff before. Really if you look at the speed, last week in Pocono we made a step. We had a good second run in qualifying and were ninth. We had a good start, we were running sixth and had a flat tire. Those things have been happening to us. It isn’t just the speed. We have had other issues. We had an issue at Dover where we had a top-10 car.

“We aren’t the winning car like we are used to being or want to be but we have made some progress on our cars to where we have gotten faster since Charlotte. We just haven’t had a chance to show it because we are trying to overcome things. Our car isn’t fast enough to overcome issues that happen in the race right now. If we get faster we can overcome having a flat tire last week.”

 

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