Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Joey Logano’s Stock Continues to Rise
It’s crazy how fast the perception of a driver can change in NASCAR, especially for Team Penske’s Joey Logano, who has gone from the driver everybody was talking about, to now being overlooked.
How is this possible?
After three consecutive campaigns with multiple wins, Logano entered 2017 as a championship favorite among many. In the first nine races, he seemed to prove those assumption right, finishing in the top-10 in all but one event and had just grabbed his first victory of the year at Richmond. With a playoff spot presumably locked up, everything seemed to be going great for the No. 22 team. That was up until a few days after the win, where he was penalized for a rear suspension issue, resulting in the loss of all post-season eligibility earned from the previous weekend.
The penalty immediately killed all momentum Logano had, and he would go from contender to disappointment. In the next 17 races, he finished in the top-10 just four times, and led only seven laps in that period. All this resulted in him missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012 and merely vanishing off the radars of many because of it.
Now fast forward to present time, it seems as if Logano is well on his way of proving that the previous season as a fluke. He has performed well enough to sit third in the standings heading into the upcoming off weekend, but he still isn’t considered as a serious title threat and has been overshadowed by drivers with multiple wins. So, should he is a possible championship contender despite the lack of recognition?
Now, that may seem like a stretch considering he has only won once and, it was at a restrictor plate track (Talladega Superspeedway) and hasn’t shown the dominance others have; but, his consistency is something that must be considered.
This is a team that has qualified great, ran strong, and maybe most of all, done well on off days. For example, in the three races that the 28-year-old hasn’t finished in the top-10, but rather 19th, 13th, and 22nd. Where in comparison, the two strongest drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick, have multiple results outside the 30th or worse. Making something out of nothing has proven to be so crucial in this sport, and so far, Logano has been the best at it and if he can continue to do this in the playoffs, along with his consistent runs near the front, the odds of him being in the Championship 4 increase by a lot.
Not to get ahead of ourselves as it is only June, and looking at possible championship scenarios in November maybe looking too far forward. However, for the time being, the No. 22 team is a team you need to watch as they continue to rise and put a year worth of disappointment behind them.
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