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The last six NASCAR seasons have featured six champions; Joey Logano was one of these in 2018 during a season he described as being made up of the "Big 3 and me". Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick dominated that season.
Logano scored only one win during the regular season, and that came on the carburetor-restricted superspeedway of Talladega Superspeedway – hardly predictive of his strength on other course types A victory in Race 1 of the Round of 8 qualified him for the Championship 4.
The Championship 4 dominated the finale. They led the final 100 laps of the Ford 400. Ultimately the title came down to the driver who was prepared best for a short run to the end. Truex was set up for a long run. Logano took the lead from him with 12 to go – three laps after the final caution period and rolled to the win.
Logano was not dominant that season. In fact, he has never been during a season, but he is one of the most consistent drivers in the field.
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It wasn’t always that way. Pressed into service earlier than he was comfortable, Logano struggled with Gibbs and failed to crack the top 15 in points in four seasons. In 2013, he was fired from Joe Gibbs Racing and immediately landed a ride with Team Penske. He finished 10th in his first year with Penske.
Since then, Logano was worse than sixth only once and that came with controversy in 2017. Logano secured one victory early in the year at Richmond Raceway. Penalized for a rear suspension violation, he was allowed to keep the win – the 18th of his career – but it was deemed "encumbered" and he did not get the automatic advancement into the playoffs.
Logano failed to win again in 2017, missed the playoffs, and finished 17th in the standings.
That made his 2018 championship sweeter. The next year, he finished fifth in the points. He qualified for the Championship 4 in 2020 and finished third.
Last year, Logano could muster only eighth, but it bares emphasizing that is his tied for his second worst points' performance since joining Penske. It may also have an asterisk because it came in a season where the organization may have been distracted by the defection of Brad Keselowski to Jack Roush's team.
Logano, 31, is now the senior statesman of Team Penske. He has 13 full-time seasons under his belt, which makes him a veteran in every sense of the word. Logano is not often flashy. Worse still, a well-documented feud with Kevin Harvick left him with a reputation for being pushed around on the track, but this is one of the most aggressive drivers in the field – which is partly why he drew the attention of Harvick in the first place.
When Logano puts his helmet on, he becomes a different driver and without amassing a huge number of wins in most of his seasons, he now has 27 victories to his credit. That puts him 31st on the chart – one behind Rex White and Carl Edwards. Those wins came on 15 different tracks. Most are evenly distributed, but his best performance has come at Michigan International Speedway where he's won three times from the pole.
Logano is a driver who needs rhythm to be at his best. That was hard to find last year as his longest string of top-10s was four consecutive. Only one of those was a top-five.
The good news is the traders have become confused by his pattern. Logano opened last year with betting lines at PointsBet Sportsbook under 10/1 in six of his first 11 races. In the final 25 races, he was regarded that well only twice at Richmond 2 (+800) and Martinsville 2 (+900). When he won on the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track, he was listed at +3300.
If Logano gets on a roll, ride his wave until the traders catch back up to his potential.
Three Best Tracks *
Charlotte (road) (7.3 in 6 attempts)
Las Vegas (8.6 in 17)
Richmond (10.2 in 25)
Three Worst Tracks *
Daytona (18.1 in 26)
Watkins Glen (17.3 in 12)
Pocono (17.2 in 26)
* Active track, three or more starts
Victories: Bristol (dirt)
Top-fives: 10 (.278)
Top-10s: 19 (.528)
Top-15s: 26 (.722)
Top-20s: 29 (.806)
2021 Finishes at or above rank = 13 (36.1%)
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