Joey Logano hopes All-Star Race victory will help his team climb out of hole in Cup Series standings

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Less than two years removed from his second NASCAR Cup Series championship, Joey Logano finds himself in a fight simply to make the playoffs.

He is hoping his All-Star Race victory will provide the kick-start his No. 22 Ford team needs, beginning with Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, the longest and most grueling race on the NASCAR circuit.

Logano is 18th in the standings and has yet to win a points race this season while finishing in the top five only once in 14 starts, uncharacteristic for a driver who has been one of the sport’s best over the past decade.

He won season championships in 2022 and 2018.

“It was great to go up there and grab a win,” Logano said of his dominating victory at North Wilkesboro Speedway, where he led all but one of the 200 laps to capture his second career All-Star Race. “I wish it was a points race for sure. But a million bucks (for finishing first) is still pretty dang good and I don’t think anyone would complain about that.”

Logano said “everything went perfect” last weekend.

But things have been far from perfect for Logano during points races. Other than a second-place finish at Richmond, Logano hasn’t been in the mix much this season, and he had five straight finishes outside of the top 10 before North Wilkesboro.

“We’ve had something happen in almost every race where things are going well and then, ugh, that happened,” Logano said. “Things where we didn’t go fast or just odds-and-ends things that didn’t go well. It’s just been that kind of year for us.”

But Logano knows there is a lot of racing left.

He points to deficiencies in aerodynamics and power as being the team’s main dropoff from two years ago.

“We are about halfway to the playoffs and we have time to make up and get out of the hole that we are in,” Logano said. “And we are in a hole, there’s no doubt about that. We will keep attacking and getting after it.”

Logano said the All-Star Race couldn’t have come at a better time for his team.

It got together this week at Logano’s house to celebrate the win. That team bonding carried over to a concert on Thursday night in Charlotte, where the celebration continued.

“That win does help the momentum of the team, and it helps the confidence,” Logano said. “There’s a lot of good things that come along with that momentum. The attitudes are a lot happier and that helps performance all of the way through. So I feel like we needed this uptick. There are a lot of good things happening right now in everybody’s life, so that is a good place to be.”


AP auto racing:

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up