Despite falling a lap down early and running out of fuel as the white flag flew, Joey Logano was still able to cross the finish line 10th at Dover International Speedway last weekend, collecting his third straight top-10 finish and fourth in the last six races. That puts Logano as the only non-Chase driver to collect top-10 finishes in the first three races of the Chase and one of only four drivers with top-10s in the first three Chase races. In fact, had Logano been able to win another race and make the Chase, he would be seventh in the point standings less than 40 points out of the top spot. Logano made a similar late-season run back in 2010, when he earned four top-five and six top-10 finishes, including a run of finishes of seventh, sixth, fifth, fourth and third, in the final 10 races of that season.
STATS TELL THE TALLADEGA TALE: There are two tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule that stand out in the stat column on Logano’s resume and Talladega Superspeedway is one of them. Since beginning his Sprint Cup Series career full-time in 2009, Logano has competed in seven events at Talladega and has earned an impressive four top-10 finishes in those seven starts, including two top-fives (a third in the fall race of 2009 and a fifth in the fall race of 2010). In two other races, Logano has been running up front before falling victim to the dreaded “big one” that normally happens at restrictor plate tracks. In fact, of all active Sprint Cup Series drivers, Logano has the third best-average career finish at Talladega – 16.1 – and is ninth in driver rating (a formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish) with an 84.8. He also only trails Dale Jr. and Kurt Busch, two of the best restrictor plate drivers on the circuit, in average running position at Talladega.
TESTING: The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car will see the track once again this week at Talladega Superspeedway and Logano will be behind the wheel of the JGR 2013 car for the first time. Logano will participate in the Talladega test and will be accompanied by a number of JGR engineers and body shop reps. The 2013 car has an entirely new body design and is supposed to allow fans a chance to return to the roots of the sport when street cars were actually turned into race cars. The cars are made to more closely resemble their street versions.
WEEKEND APPEARANCES: Joey will make several appearances during the Talladega weekend. His first scheduled appearance is set for Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. at the Legends Village Chalet just outside of turn one at Talladega Superspeedway for a question and answer session with fans. He will also sign autographs at his merchandise hauler at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday morning. All of Logano’s weekend and public appearances can be found on his official website, www.joeylogano.com.
RACE INFO: The Good Sam Roadside Assistance at Talladega Superspeedway (Talladega, AL; 2.66-mile oval) is set for Sunday afternoon, October 7, 2012. The race will be broadcast on ESPN at 1:00 p.m. ET, with radio coverage on MRN.
Joey Logano Quotes: “Over the last couple of years, I’ve really felt like I’ve become a pretty good superspeedway and restrictor plate driver. It’s a lot like road course racing. A few years ago, there were several guys who were a lot better than everyone else at road course racing, just like there were a few drivers who were a lot better than everyone else at restrictor plate tracks. Now though, I think the competition has tightened up and a lot of the drivers have adapted and we are all getting better at all disciplines of racing. When I first started, I don’t think I was very good at restrictor plate races. But the more I’ve done them, both in the Cup Series and in the Nationwide Series, I’ve got a knack for it. I’ve been able to win a couple of them in the Nationwide Series and I feel like I’ve been pretty close in the Cup Series.
“Like anyone will tell you, the biggest things is putting yourself in the right position and staying out of the big wreck. There are a lot of different thoughts about that. Some people try and race up front and some people try and ride around in the back. You think that riding in the back might be the way to go, but that is something I’ve never really tried until the first race at Talladega this year and we got caught up in every single big wreck I felt like and eventually taken out of the race. At Daytona, I decided to race up front the whole time and I was able to miss some of the wrecks and finish in the top-five. But really it’s just a crap shoot. The big wreck can happen anywhere, especially with the new rules package that keeps us in the big pack. You just have to hope you survive it all and are there at the end of the race.”