Joey Logano is officially back in the playoffs. After scoring the victory at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend, the No. 22 Ford passed post-race inspection at the NASCAR R&D Center this week, ensuring the team would not have a tainted win like last year.
Logano is not going to let out too big a sigh of relief, though. Not when working for Roger Penske.
“Like Roger says all the time, don’t trip on your press clippings because you won one race,” Logano said Friday morning at Dover International Speedway. “We have to work hard to find more speed and win more races.”
Somehow, Logano casually played off his latest victory – a victory which came just a day shy of one year since he had last won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.
And Logano’s calm attitude also extends to this season’s performance, as he’s second in the point standings with a 6.7 average finish and nine top-nine finishes in 10 races.
“We have to keep working hard to maintain this level that we are at right now. We won the race, yes, and we scored some stage points but we are not where we need to be yet,” said Logano. “Our speed it not there yet. We’re getting closer.
“We’re making progress but we are not where the 4 [Kevin Harvick], 18 [Kyle Busch] and 78 [Martin Truex Jr.] are at. Those guys have been quicker than us in recent weeks. We have made a big step to get closer but we aren’t there yet. We have to keep our heads down and keep pushing.”
Busch has three victories and is the point leader by 30 over Logano. Harvick also has three wins and is third in points. Defending champion Truex took the checkered flag out in California. Over 1,000 laps have been led between Busch and Harvick.
Dover has been a hot or cold track for Logano. He has just three top-five finishes in 18 starts. But two trips to Dover each year normally bring to mind the vicious barrel roll Logano experienced in the fall of 2009.
“Badass” is how Logano describes the concrete one-mile facility.
“I look forward to Dover all the time and hopefully we’re able to find some speed in our car,” he said. “This has been probably a weaker racetrack for Team Penske as of late. We’ve run well here but the last two or three years have been kind of a little bit of a struggle for us.
“Hopefully, the speed we have had in our cars the last few weeks and things we have learned in the past here we can make our cars quick here today and win on Sunday.”