With one race left in the Round of 8, only Joey Logano is locked into the title race next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“If I would have told you that 15 weeks ago would you have believed me? I wouldn’t either,” Logano said with a laugh Thursday night during an event for Team Penske sponsor MoneyLion.
“Honestly, it’s funny [because] I was talking with Todd (Gordon, crew chief) on the way out here, and I told him, ‘When the playoffs started I kind of felt like we were an underdog of making it. And honestly, the last six or seven weeks we’ve led a lot more laps, we’ve won a lot of stages, won a race, was fast at Kansas, was fast at Texas, you know what, I think we’re the favorite now to win.’”
It’s crazy how quickly things can change, Logano acknowledged. But a closer look at the No. 22 team’s performance shows just how good it has been compared to the competition.
In eight playoff races, Logano has scored the most points of any driver (342). The gap is substantial: Martin Truex Jr. is second on the list at 301 and Kurt Busch is third with 291.
Logano also has an impressive 4.25 average finish in the playoffs.
This year will mark Logano’s third appearance in the Championship 4 in the five years since the winner-take-all championship race was established. In 2014, Logano finished fourth and was runner-up in 2016.
The takeaways from those experiences, Logano said, should help him as he once again prepares to fight for his first championship.
“I think after going through that once, twice and now even for a third time you still have that thought go through your mind that you have another great shot at becoming a NASCAR champion, which has been a lifelong goal since I was a kid,” Logano said. “But I guess I find myself a little more relaxed knowing that I’ve been here before, I’ve done it before, I know how to handle the situations, I know how to race at the racetrack, I know my team has done it before.
“It’s not like it’s a new race team that hasn’t been in this situation before. Almost our whole race team has been in all three of them, a majority of us has been, so I think that gives me a lot of confidence and it should give my race team a lot of confidence too that we’ve been here before. We know what to do, we know how to fight for it, so we’ve been really close. We’ve been closer every time we’ve done it, so hopefully one more time.”