Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition
Logano looks to add 2nd Daytona 500 win
A second NASCAR Cup Series title in 2022 further cemented Joey Logano’s place as one of the top drivers of his era.
A second Daytona 500 title would elevate him into even rarer air.
Logano became the fifth driver during the past 25 years to win two Cup Series titles, joining Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch.
But Stewart famously and frustratingly did not win his sport’s premier event during a Hall of Fame career. Meanwhile, Busch will make his 18th attempt Sunday.
Logano, the 2015 Daytona 500 winner, has a chance to join Gordon, Johnson, Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough as the only drivers with at least two championship and 500 wins.
Legacy, though, remains a distant consideration for Logano while recent success is irrelevant to the 32-year-old as he embarks on his 15th season.
“I’m sure someday down the road I will think about it,” Logano told the Orlando Sentinel. “I’m sure championships help your case for the Hall of Fame and any of that stuff. But I’m a day-by- day person. It was great that we won last year. That was last year.
“You have to move forward and get another one. We’re previous champions right now. We need to go win again.”
Affable and accommodating, Logano is also an admittedly restless soul suited for a sport based on speed.
“I’m running all the time, going somewhere, doing something — I can’t sit still,” he said. “Maybe not the most content person either.”
On the racetrack, Logano is fulfilled only when his No. 22 Ford Mustang sits at the front of the pack. Few drivers are more aggressive when victory lane is in sight.
“A race car allows you to be somebody that you’re not,” he explained. “When you’re in the competition and you’re out there, you’re allowed to be very selfish.”
Logano’s hard-charging style has caused its share of chaos and drama.
A 2013 mix-up with Denny Hamlin at Fontana sent Hamlin into a wall and put him on the shelf for four races with a back injury. Two years later, Logano won at Kansas after spinning Matt Kenseth, who retaliated a month later to keep Logano from reaching the playoffs.
A spinout in Las Vegas led to a 2007 fight with Busch. Logano also has had run-ins with Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski.
Logano makes no apologies for his approach on race day.
“You’re competing not only for yourself and your family but the countless others who are working on your race car,” he said. “They need me to go out there and race as hard as I can to get a victory for them. I have to be selfish on the racetrack. Now do I want to be like that all the time? No, that’s not who I am.
“But on the racetrack I get to do that, and that’s pretty cool.”
Logano’s consistency is pretty ridiculous, even if he’d like more than 31 victories — more than all but four active drivers. Logano has won in 11 straight seasons, second only to Busch’s 18.
“The only thing that matters is who hoists the trophy at the end of the day,” Logano said.
A second Harley J. Earl trophy Sunday night is certainly possible as Logano looks to change some recent bad luck at Daytona International Speedway.
Logano did not finish two of the past three races after finishing among the first six in the 40-car field for five straight years, including his victory eight years ago.
“The last 25 or 30 laps just get very chaotic,” Logano said. “You can be doing really well and next thing you know you’re turned backward. Kind of the nature of the beast because everybody knows what’s on the line. If you’re coming to the line and you’re about to win the Daytona 500, what are you willing to do?
“Every driver has to ask himself: ‘What are you willing to do?’ “
By now, everyone knows Logano will do whatever it takes. He hopes he gets another chance to prove it.