Joey Logano mentioned making it by means of to the finale feels higher this time than in 2014.
AVONDALE, Ariz. — Karma has a humorous method of coming again round. Simply ask Joey Logano.
A bit greater than 12 months in the past, Logano was eradicated from the 2015 NASCAR Chase for the Dash Cup when Matt Kenseth deliberately wrecked him at Martinsville Speedway, an assault made in retribution for a previous incident between the 2 just a few weeks earlier at Kansas Speedway.
On Sunday, Kenseth was the motive force who obtained wrecked — just about by his personal teammate — opening the door for Logano to win the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Worldwide Raceway. Extra importantly, the well timed victory landed Logano among the many 4 drivers who will compete for the 2016 Dash Cup subsequent weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Logano and the No. 22 Crew Penske Ford have been typically the dominant mixture of the 2015 season, and he was bitterly upset that after Kenseth wrecked him at Martinsville, he did not get the chance to compete for the crown.
However because of the unbelievable occasions that went down late in Sunday’s race at Phoenix, he’ll get that probability subsequent week for the second time within the three years that NASCAR’s Chase has been run utilizing the present 16-driver elimination format.
At Phoenix, Kenseth appeared to be cruising to an uncontested victory whereas Logano was desperately attempting to carry off Kevin Harvick for the fourth-place end he wanted to qualify for the Homestead finale on factors.
As Kenseth sped round to take the white flag, the yellow flew as a substitute as Michael McDowell crashed in Flip three. Out of the blue, Kenseth needed to cope with a restart.
It did not go nicely. Kenseth obtained bounce into Flip 1, however when Alex Bowman turned down to dam a charging Kyle Busch, Busch’s automotive bumped Bowman’s automotive. The contact unsettled Bowman’s Chevrolet sufficient to ship it sliding into Kenseth’s Toyota, which spun into the Flip 1 wall whereas Logano and Busch sped previous.
A further restart held no drama for Logano, who simply held off Busch in a green-white-checkered end.
It was Logano’s 17th profession Cup Collection race win, and his seventh within the Chase because the elimination format was launched in 2014. That tops all drivers, and he is nonetheless simply 26 years previous.
“Man, this feels so good!” Logano exclaimed in his Victory Lane tv interview. “I’ve by no means felt this good a few win earlier than. I really feel like I gained the Daytona 500 once more. There’s a lot on the road, and all people brings their A-game in relation to profitable championships.
“We’re racing for a championship now,” he added. “We did exactly what we had to do. We’re going to go to Homestead and do the same thing.”
Crew proprietor Roger Penske has the distinctive alternative to win each the IndyCar Collection championship and NASCAR’s high championship within the yr that Crew Penske is celebrating its 50th anniversary in competitors.
Simon Pagenaud gained Penske’s 14th Indy automotive title earlier this yr, however Penske has achieved much less success in inventory automotive racing. Brad Keselowski earned Crew Penske’s solely Cup Collection title thus far in 2012.
Now Logano will symbolize the legendary staff in a championship finale yet one more time.
“I guess we can say we’re going to Homestead,” remarked Penske. “At present the staff actually was disciplined, they executed the pit stops and Joey’s restarts have been traditional Logano — no one was in a position to be as cool as he was to take the place.
“The outcome wasn’t the outcome until the overtime,” Penske added. “I think this proves just how good he is to continually get the job done for us.”
Logano is satisfied that he and his staff led by crew chief Todd Gordon have what it takes to prevail within the Closing 4 shootout subsequent week at Homestead. His competitors consists of Busch, fellow Joe Gibbs Racing driver Carl Edwards, and six-time Cup Collection champion Jimmie Johnson.
In his different championship last expertise in 2014, Logano completed 16th at Homestead, final among the many 4 Chase contenders. He vows that won’t occur once more.
“We have experience now,” Logano said. “We have been collectively 4 years or so, and we have gone by means of some arduous conditions collectively as a staff and never a lot has modified. They do job of protecting their head straight and a number of that comes from Todd.
“We’re peaking at the right time, which is a good sign,” Logano continued. “We’ve had some speed the last three races. Texas was one of our best races of the year and to go to a racetrack that’s very similar to that makes me excited. We know what it takes to win a championship because we’ve been through that situation once before. I’ve been saying throughout this Chase that I hope we’re in that situation because we know how to handle it. Today we were in that situation and we won the race, and I can’t wait to put my team in that situation again.”
It is arduous to think about a 26-year-old as a grizzled veteran, however Logano has already been racing on the Cup stage for eight full years.
The child as soon as generally known as “Sliced Bread” appears to understand driver typically must lose a championship to learn to win one.
He’ll get that probability in a single week’s time.
“We’ve got momentum,” he acknowledged. “I bear in mind the final time we obtained by means of to Homestead, I wasn’t this excited. I used to be instantly nervous.
“This is not that feeling,” he added. “I’ve confidence this time. I do know we will do it. I do not really feel it is a lengthy shot just like the final time, when it was the primary time I used to be racing for a championship.
“This time I feel like we’ve been there before.”