Joey Logano told his team before Sunday’s title fight at Phoenix Raceway that you can’t lose when you make the Championship 4. When among the final four teams standing, Logano preached that you either win the championship or become stronger.
“Unfortunately, we got stronger today,” said Logano.
Logano and the No. 22 Team Penske team finished third in the race and the championship. The winning and championship pass was made on Logano by Chase Elliott with 42 laps to go after Logano had cycled to the race lead by pitting one lap earlier than Elliott under green-flag conditions.
“I thought we were in a good spot,” said Logano. “We were right with the 9 [Elliott] right before the green-flag cycle and was able to come out in front of him. And then, he just had a lot of speed that last run. They really found something.”
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It was Logano and crew chief Paul Wolfe who had things going their way early in the Season Finale 500. Logano led 117 of the race’s first 120 laps and led the title contenders at the end of the first stage. But Logano didn’t lead again until cycling to the front for eight laps after his final pit stop.
“We learned a lot about ourselves and learned that we are capable,” Logano said of the day. “We’re capable of executing when we needed to. We just need to go faster. That was the one thing. But I think overall there’s a lot to be proud of throughout the season, where we’ve come from, how much we’ve grown as a team, especially with the crew chief swap in the beginning of the season this year and without practice. That was a pretty big hurdle we had to jump.
“I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job through the playoffs to really come into our own. That makes me really excited about 2021 because we’re starting way further ahead than where we did last year, with the schedule being somewhat similar with limited practice sessions. I feel a lot better going into next year than what we did this year—a lot to be proud of. You need to look at the silver linings; you need to look at your mistakes and where you can be better. It still doesn’t take the pain away, but that’s how you get by, at least.”