NASCAR Cup Series had its playoff media day on Thursday as reporters talked to the grid. One of the most notable portions of the day came when Joey Logano, the driver of the No. 22 car, labeled himself the championship favorite.
What did Logano have to say about his chances? Plus, a review of his regular season.
Joey Logano discusses why he’s the championship favorite
Logano enters the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs as the second seed with 25 playoff points, only behind Chase Elliott and his 40 playoff points. This might create the idea in his mind that it will be hard to beat the No. 22 team.
The driver of the No. 22 car talked about his confidence going into the Southern 500, which is ironically the place of his first win in the NextGen car.
“You know me—I always feel like I’m the favorite. I race that way. That confidence is very important, and I think we have reason to feel that way.”Joey Logano on his confidence
Logano’s confidence will be one of his greatest attributes as the series enters the playoffs. A confident driver usually has a boost in performance as there is no second-guessing.
The 32-year-old driver explained why the No. 22 team should feel like the favorites right now.
“If I look at the last five races, we’ve scored more points than anybody—44 points more than anybody the last five races. That says a lot about our team, shows where we are about maximizing our days, and that’s what the Playoff is about.”Joey Logano and why the No. 22 team should be the favorites
It is easy to tell Logano is confident and he even brought out the statistics to prove it. Let’s take a deeper look into what he is talking about when it comes to maximizing his days.
Logano actually has 42 more points than any driver over the last five NASCAR races. Denny Hamlin sits in second place and there’s another 16-point gap to Chase Elliott in third place.
He is the only driver with a sub-13th place average finish in those five races. In fact, Logano has a 6.2 average finish, which is under half of the second-place drivers with a 13.0 average finish.
Also, the driver of the No. 22 car has the most top-10 finishes and the most laps led over that five-race stretch. It was a very good end of the NASCAR regular season for Logano and it led him to further explain why he’s the favorite.
“I told my team this yesterday—we’re the favorites, and here’s why…If you do the work, and you feel prepared, I’d better feel like I’m the best out there. There’s a balance between all that, right? Because do I feel like I’m the best in every category on the race track? No. But I feel like I’m the best well-rounded driver on the race track, and that’s important.”Joey Logano on why he feels like the favorite
Logano sounds like a very confident driver and that is dangerous for the rest of the field. While Logano hasn’t won an event in the five-race stretch that has given him this confidence, it’s not unrealistic to see him break out.
Let’s dive deeper into Logano’s regular season as the NASCAR playoffs loom on Sunday night.
Evaluating Joey Logano’s 2022 NASCAR Cup Series regular season
Logano started off the NASCAR regular season with a little bit of a struggle as he finished in 21st place at the end of the Daytona 500. He was quick to jump back the next week for a fifth-place finish at Auto Club Speedway.
Over the next five weeks, Logano had a best finish of 8th place at Phoenix Raceway after scuffling a little bit after Auto Club Speedway. Things would change at Martinsville Speedway and Bristol Dirt with top-3 finishes but it became a rollercoaster.
Logano won at Darlington Raceway for his first career win in NASCAR’s NextGen car, but it was in the midst of a really dreadful part of the season for him. The 32-year-old driver had a five-race stretch with one finish in the top-15 position, which was his victory.
He ended that stretch with another victory at World Wide Technology Raceway for his second victory of the season. Soon after, Logano returned to his dreadful stretch of racing. The next two races ended in ninth place and 17th place finishes.
The next four races were a nightmare. The best finish of the bunch was 20th place at Pocono Raceway. While Logano didn’t crash out of any, he finished in the mid-20s as his performances were simply weak.
- Joey Logano’s NASCAR stats (2022): Two wins, seven top-5 finishes, 12 top-10 finishes
Things changed quickly when he had four straight top-6 finishes at the Indianapolis Road Course, Michigan International Speedway, Richmond Raceway, and Watkins Glen International.
Finally, Logano closed out the regular season at Daytona International Speedway with a 17th place finish after a crash. It was not a great end but that is superspeedway racing. It’s mostly unpredictable.
It was a very up-and-down season for Logano and somehow, he ended up being the No. 2 seed in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. It remains to be seen if that is a fluke or whether he is a force to be reckoned with when feeling confident.
The latest results from Logano suggest it might be a sign of things to come.