Joey Logano’s optimism is growing around the potential for his No. 22 Team Penske group.
Coming off a 2017 in which he failed to make the playoffs and struggled to find speed and performance late in the year, Logano has been adamant he has no plans to repeat that. Last year was a horror movie, he said.
But through five races this year, Logano has scored four top-10 finishes and has just one qualifying effort outside the top 10.
“Yeah, if you run in the top five, I mean, we ran top five all day long from the first run all the way to the end,” Logano said of his fifth-place finish at Auto Club Speedway. “My pit crew was incredible. It was one of the most unbelievable days on pit road I’ve ever seen, so they were on fire.
“Are we as fast as we need to be yet? No, but we’re getting closer. Take Phoenix out – for whatever reason the whole company can’t go fast at Phoenix, but today we had some decent speed and it’s progress. It’s progress in the right direction. We still have a ways to go, but we’re getting closer to where we can have solid runs, score stage points, score good finishes and keep ourselves up there for points.”
When it comes to points, Logano is third in the championship standings. He has also scored 44 stage points, which is sixth best in the series.
Logano, like many, did not have anything to match up evenly with winner Martin Truex Jr. But Logano did enjoy having a brief time running in front of Truex at one point in the race.
“I was like, ‘Hey,’ but it was short-lived,” said Logano.
Overall, Logano said his weekend, which included winning Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, was good.
“I’ve been so close for quite some time now and it’s been a great racetrack for us and a lot of fun to race here, I just need more speed to be able to keep up there,” Logano said. “We made one change that the car didn’t like right before the last stage and we lost some track position there, and by the time we were able to start catching back up it was too late.
“We probably could have finished fourth, maybe third at the end if we didn’t have that bad run. But overall that’s where we’re at.”