Logano takes on underdog role

Image by Thacker/LAT

Logano takes on underdog role

NASCAR

Logano takes on underdog role

Confidence has been growing within the Team Penske organization about contending for the championship, and Joey Logano would love to be the driver to knock a favorite out the playoffs or beat them for the title.

“How cool would it be to be that story?” Logano remarked on Friday. “That storyline is awesome. To be that underdog at that point because I think anyone outside the Big 3 is an underdog, and to be one of those cars that makes that happen and get into that Championship 4, that’s the goal right now.”

The ‘Big 3’ consists of Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and defending champion Martin Truex Jr., who have won a majority of the races this year. As such, those three drivers have dominated the headlines, and any one of the three is considered a good bet to take the championship come Homestead.

But at Team Penske, things have been trending upward.

Brad Keselowski won three straight races at Darlington, Indianapolis and Las Vegas (also the playoff opener). Logano followed him across the finish line at Darlington, and all three Penske drivers finished in the top five at Las Vegas. Ryan Blaney then won a dramatic elimination race last weekend in Charlotte.

Speaking of Logano, he has a 9.3 average finish through the first three races of the playoffs and has finished in the top 10 in five of the last seven races, going back to the regular season.

“We can change our goals to win the championship once we get there, but we have to make it to the Championship 4 first,” said Logano. “It’s gonna be a tough road ahead of us. We are fighting from behind the eight-ball compared to most, but we still have a decent amount of playoff points that we’re able to work with and get ourselves through, and all it takes is a win, and that changes everything. That’s all it takes.

“One weekend can change this whole thing up, so I think for me as a driver, and as a team, we need to stay positive about that because are you the underdog? Probably. Is it hard fighting from behind? Yes, but one weekend changes everything and changes that whole piece and that whole view. So, we need to keep that in our mind that even though we haven’t won as many races this year as we’d like to, that anything can change really, really quick and your whole season could have a big turnaround, and you’ll be sitting here saying something completely different a few weeks later down the road.”

Logano has never won at Dover, where the Round of 12 begins this weekend with the Gander Outdoors 400. His most recent top-10 finish at the track was in the fall of 2016.

However, Logano has three wins at Talladega Superspeedway and two at Kansas Speedway, the next two races in the round. Logano will go to Talladega as the most recent winner having scored what is so far his only win this season at the superspeedway in April.

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