Joey Logano has a second NASCAR Cup Series championship trophy and a new patch on his fire suit, but he arrived in Daytona Beach with the same clean slate as the competition.
“It’s cool; I still look at it and say it should say four (championships),” Logano laughed while pointing to the updated champion patch that says 2X but thinking of the missed opportunities in 2016 and 2020. “It’s nice, don’t get me wrong. It’s a cool accomplishment to have, but I also feel like it was last year and it’s over. The championship stuff is over to me.
“It’s nice to run out the season as a reigning champion or a previous champion, whatever it is, but it’s over in my mind. We had our moment to enjoy it, to celebrate. Now it’s back to work. We’ve got to do it again. The goal is the same again this year. We can’t do the same things – we’ve got to find more and adjust again. Nothing changes.”
No matter what Logano was asked about his most recent triumph during his media day availability, he wasn’t going to live in the past. Logano and his No. 22 Team Penske team quickly turned the page after the early November finale, and being the champion does nothing for them going into the Daytona 500.
“It’s over,” Logano stressed. “You got a cool parking spot this week; that’s all it is. That’s all it is now. I got a cool little badge and a great parking spot for Daytona. That’s it. It’s over, and we’ve got to do it again.”
Logano has learned from the best about always being on to the next thing. NASCAR Hall of Fame and all-around motor sports legend Roger Penske is notorious for recognizing an accomplishment at the moment and then shifting his focus to what’s still to do.
“You’re a product of your environment,” Logano said of his team owner. “You are who you hang out with, and I’ve been there for a while now — the majority of my career. I’ve seen it, I live it, and he doesn’t tell me this. Roger doesn’t tell me anything. You just know.
“I don’t know how much of that was inside of me already because I can’t really say I saw success before I worked for Roger. So, it’s hard for me to say what that means, but I will say being around him sure isn’t a bad thing to have that mindset as well.”
It is not uncommon to hear a Penske driver, past or present, talk about not tripping on your press clippings. It’s a Penske classic.
“That guy (Roger) is not content,” said Logano. “Our team motto this year is ‘never enough,’ and it’s for those reasons. You can always do better. You can always do more. You can’t be content and be OK that you won two championships.
“As a team, we can’t do that. We can’t get stuck into a post-championship slump. We can’t get in that. We got to keep fighting and say that it’s not enough. We’ve got to keep going.”
Not only has Logano’s team embraced a new motto, but the driver put it on hats and shirts for his team. Plus, there was added motivation by the psychological warfare Logano’s manufacturer dished out.
“We went to the Ford headquarters and met with Jim Farley, their CEO, and I go up into his office, and it’s me and Paul [Wolfe],” Logano said. “[Jim] sits down, and the first thing wasn’t congratulations, you won the championship, this is great for Ford and all that stuff. He goes, ‘Well, it’s good you guys won. You’re probably not going to win next year. You’ll probably be a little more comfortable because you guys already did it. You guys aren’t as hungry. I feel like after ‘20, when you got beat, you’re really hungry to win a championship. Probably not now.’
“And I was like, what? I was instantly pissed off. Instantly. What did this guy just say to me? After letting it set in for a month, I realized what he was doing. He’s really smart. Now I have a chip on my shoulder because now it’s to prove a point.
“I actually sent him an email with a picture of the hats we got printed up. I said, ‘I’ll send you a hat with some trophies.’ He found another way to fire me up. I’m appreciative of it. At the moment, I was kind of mad at him. It made sense at the end.”