TMS Media Relations | Oct 08, 2014
FORT WORTH, Texas (Oct. 8, 2014) – Team Penske driver Joey Logano has looked the part of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship contender this season and he solidified that last weekend at Kansas Speedway, earning a career-high fifth victory and clinching a spot in the upcoming Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Logano will be among the eight Sprint Cup Series drivers in contention for the championship when the series returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday, Nov. 2. The momentum for Logano began at Texas Motor Speedway in April when he won the Duck Commander 500 and has remained on a roll ever since. For the 24-year-old Logano, who is in his second year driving for Team Penske, success is coming at the right time.
“I think the people you surround yourself with is what it takes to go fast,” Logano said. “Everyone can build fast race cars. It’s just the people that you work with every day that helps you become a better driver, helps you understand a little better and have that chemistry. You look at Todd Gordon, our crew chief, and all the 22 team, and you look at (team owner) Roger (Penske) and the leadership at Team Penske – all that just seems like it gels great and I fit right in there perfectly. It’s been a lot of fun and I just want to keep riding it out as long as we can.”
The pressure currently is off Logano with his berth in the Eliminator Round now cemented with two races remaining – Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday (6:30 p.m. CT, ABC) and Talladega Superspeedway (Sunday, Oct. 19, ESPN) – in the Contender Round of the Chase. Logano appears to have a leg up on the competition, not only having advanced to the next round of the Chase already, but he also gained valuable information during a two-day test session at Texas Motor Speedway last month.
Texas Motor Speedway could play a pivotal role in Logano’s pursuit of his first Sprint Cup title as it is the second of three races in the Eliminator Round of the Chase and a victory automatically advances him to the Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway. As if Logano needed a further advantage in returning to a track that suits his strengths, the information he and his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil team collected during the test at Texas Motor Speedway will only benefit his quest to become just the third driver to sweep both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in the same season at “The Great American Speedway!” Carl Edwards was the first to accomplish the feat in 2008 and Denny Hamlin matched it two years later.
“We don’t have a whole bunch to compare to, but when we come to test it’s not really all about the speed,” Logano said during the test session at Texas Motor Speedway. “It’s about kind of getting the parts and pieces that we don’t usually get to try – some things that take longer to change that we don’t get time to try in practice when we’re here on race weekends. We’ll go through some things and say ‘Okay, this is better here or worse there’ and we can really study the data and understand what is making our car run good or bad, but understanding what the changes are actually doing to the car a little better.”
Even with the luxury of securing a spot in the next round and removing all the pressure that comes with the revamped Chase format, Logano is not going to take his foot off the proverbial gas. The win has only fostered more motivation to continue his success through the conclusion of the season.
“We've just got to keep focused in on what we're doing,” Logano said following his victory at Kansas. “To win this championship you still have to be consistent, and fortunately enough this 22 team has been consistently fast and running up front, and that's what we've got to do throughout all of Team Penske.”
Tickets for the AAA Texas 500 are available by calling the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office (817) 215-8500 or by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com.
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