Why Joey Logano is replacing Hailie Deegan in the NASCAR Xfinity race in Chicago

It's really about owner points more than anything else

Joey Logano is taking over driving duties from Hailie Deegan in the AM Racing No. 15 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this weekend on the Streets of Chicago.

In a statement, the team says it has called upon the two-time Cup Series champion to evaluate the state of its program after a disappointing start to the season for Deegan through the first 17 races of the season. She is 27th in the championship standings with an average finish of 26.8 with a best finish of 12th at Talladega in April.

The team says the decision was made so that Logano could evaluate the state of their equipment, especially after crew chief Joe Williams was replaced by Matt Lucas in May.

“The level of competition in the Xfinity Series is as competitive as it’s ever been,” commented AM Racing team president Wade Moore. “It is our goal at AM Racing to field a competitive race team through our technical alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing and provide any of our drivers the best equipment and opportunity to be successful on track each weekend.”

“With that being said, we haven’t had the success on track that we were hoping for in the first half of the season. When the opportunity to have Joey in the car at Chicago became a possibility, we felt we needed to take advantage of the knowledge and feedback that a two-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion could provide to our teams’ growth.”

There’s more to the decision from that, too.

The No. 15 is 34th in the championship standings, with the fastest 33 cars making the show, and then provisionals on points filling positions 34-37 with position 38th going to a race winner ‘from the previous calendar year or current calendar year provided the driver was entered for that Team Owner in that vehicle by the entry deadline.’

If no driver meets that criteria, it just goes to the next highest car in owner points.

In other words, Deegan’s season has gone so poorly that the No. 15 team also needed a driver who could qualify into the field on Saturday and also put them in the position of scoring points to get them out of the qualifying danger zone.

There are 43 cars on the entry list for Downtown Chicago.

In other words, if Logano has a really good day on Saturday, it gets the car back in position to have a definite provisional to fall back on where they may need it. But Moore is also very adamant that Logano will help make their program better this weekend as well.

“We intend to take the feedback and data from the Chicago race weekend and apply it to building better race cars each week so AM Racing can have a stronger second half of the season,” he said.

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

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