Monday, November 16, 2015

Logano Left To Wonder What Might Have Been

                                                       Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Three weeks ago, Joey Logano was the odds-on favorite to win the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. The Team Penske driver had won three consecutive races at Charlotte, Kansas and Talladega, and was on his way to a dominating fourth score at Martinsville; a win that would punch his ticket for a winner-take-all championship shot at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Today, Logano finds himself on the outside, looking in; after a demoralizing turn of events that can only leave him to wonder what might have been.
After winning six races this season -- three of them during the post-season Chase – Logano’s storybook season ran off the rails in Kansas, when repeated blocking attempts by leader Matt Kenseth prompted Logano to spin his rival with less than five laps remaining. He drove to Victory Lane that afternoon, but in hindsight, the Kansas triumph may have been the most costly of his career.
An angry Kenseth bided his time, eventually exacting his pound of flesh by wrecking Logano out of the lead at Martinsville two weeks later. That controversial crash left the Shell-Pennzoil Ford driver behind the eight-ball in his bid to advance to Homestead, and a dismal finish at Texas two weeks ago – triggered by a blown tire in the opening 10 laps -- brought Logano to Phoenix International Raceway needing nothing less than a victory to keep his title hopes alive. He was competitive throughout Sunday’s rain-delayed event, but in the end, even Mother Nature seemed to be against him.
Poised to restart third after Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Joey Gase crashed in Turn Three, the Connecticut native watched helplessly as a light rain increased to monsoon force, forcing a premature end to the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 and leaving him two positions short of Victory Lane and 52 points shy of a Homestead title bid.
“It’s hard to play the race with rain in the area,” said Logano afterward, with a stiff upper lip. “You don’t know what’s going to happen, but you hope there’s another shot. You hope there’s a restart and two of them slip up and you’re able to put it three-wide on the bottom, or do something like that. We just didn’t ever have the opportunity there at the end.
“It's not NASCAR's fault that it's pouring. It's just unfortunate. You can `coulda, shoulda, woulda’ the heck out of that last pit stop… if we had done something different. But you don't know it's going to rain hard enough to call the race.

“We weren’t as fast as (Kevin Harvick),” he admitted. “We were a solid second place car, but Junior timed it out really well when they pitted on that caution. It worked out really well for them. I guess it wasn’t in the cards tonight, but I’m still super proud of what this Pennzoil team has done all year.”

Many will question the decision to muscle his way past Kenseth at Kansas in Mid-October, pointing to that day as the beginning of his championship demise. Having won the previous Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Logano had already guaranteed himself a spot in the Eliminator Round. Wrecking Kenseth gained him nothing, and arguably cost him a prime shot at the championship.

“It wasn’t in the cards tonight, but I’m still super-proud of what this Pennzoil team has done all year,” said Logano in a damp and dreary PIR garage that perfectly mirrored his mood. “We’ve had super-fast race cars and we really produced on the race track. We executed our plan. This was a high-pressure race for these guys, and (it was good) to see us drive to the front and have good pit stops all night.”
Logano also served notice that he and his team have one more goal to accomplish before the 2015 campaign comes to an end.
“We’ve still got one more race to win,” he said. “There’s no doubt in my mind we’re still the strongest team on the race track. This team is tight as ever, as fast as ever, and we’ve still got one more race to go out and win. I’m confident this team will keep doing that.
“Considering the last couple of weeks, this was a good race for us to get back out there and start racing for the win again. It’s a good way to redeem ourselves, it just didn’t quite work out.
“I consider this a great season,” said Logano, looking back on a campaign that began with a season-opening win in the Daytona 500, and included a historic sweep of the three-race Chase Contender Round. “We’ve got six wins and a whole bunch of Top-5s. It’s a great season if you look at it from that angle. We just had a couple bad races at the wrong time.
“It is what it is,” he said. “Overall, I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve done this year. It just didn’t work out. It's the way this game is played, right? That's the way this Chase is.
“Our heads are still high, and it’s been a great season.”


  1. ...Jeff Gordon knows exactly how he feels from last season. Sucks! But we mve on to the season.


  2. Guess he'll think twice about wrecking someone next time!

    1. Anonymous2:54 AM

      What wreck? And did he invent the hold your line move the way you people think he did. Hypocrites.

  3. Anonymous10:33 AM

    "Wrecking Kenseth gained him nothing," except the disdain of the fans and his peers. Sure, it's his job to win, but in the end the phrase 'at all costs' was his downfall.

    Maybe Joey learned a lesson. Maybe not. In the end, JGR has a car in the chase and Penske none. As Kyle Busch learned a few years ago, having the most wins doesn't guarantee you a ride in the parade. In joey's case, he'll be cleaning up the confetti.

    1. Anonymous2:57 AM

      Why is it that a 43 year old gets the pity party, when he has done it a million times before in the name of "racing" Logano has become the one in the eyes of biased fans who invented a move that was never seen before and has robbed an old lady of her pocketbook? I am sure if Kenseth held his line the way Logano did and Logano was slicing and dicing...because it was Matt (or more importantly not Joey) the move would have been appaulded. Of course no criticism of Newman doing the same thing the week before with Matt, you think Matt would have learned. Seeing he is 43 years old and all.

  4. Anonymous10:57 AM

    You know everyone says Joey shouldn't have wrecked Kenseth , doesn't anyone remember a certain driver who drove the black 3? He moved more than one driver if they blocked him. Proud of Joey, still young enough to have more chances to win championships. Kenseth needs to watch who is coming up in 2017, Eric Jones will probably be in the 20 car for JGR.

    1. I agree with your comments.
      I don't know why Moody forgets what once was and how strong rivalries are good for the sport.

    2. Anonymous2:58 AM

      Joey didn't wreck anybody. Matt came in 14th. Matt surely wrecked the Martinsville winner 9 laps down. Matt is feel the heat of his old age, and is not being graceful about anything, including deflecting blame. Logano has handled it all better than him..

  5. If he had not wreck Matt he might be in the chase still, for the record every commentator said when the chase format was started. Will someone get a payback for their action to win. Just Saying!!!!!

  6. Joey poked a caged bear with a stick, and continued poking it forgetting he'd be back in the same room with it after the second round was over. Sweeping the round was very impressive, but will be forgotten.

    One thing that will not be forgotten by any future chase driver will be what happened to Joey in the third round. Ruffling others feathers in the chase is never a good idea, especially when you don't need to.

    I'd be surprised if Joey didn't learn a big lesson this year and expect him to be a champion in the future.

    1. Nah.
      Logano is going to keep being Joey.

      I think you're hoping your dislikes rub off on him and I'm 99.9% sure he doesn't car who likes or dislikes him... especially when he wins as often as he does.

    2. Anonymous3:00 AM

      Pfft, Joey raced the way he was raced. He isn't asking permission anymore, much like his 18 year old competitor Matty, he owes them nothing. The history with him and the older drivers tells a one sided story, Far from the truth. He did nothing wrong, Matt on the other hand....

  7. Anonymous12:10 PM

    This season will be won or lost on a Fluke. Not a real championship...

  8. Anonymous1:49 PM

    One last time, Joey didn't wreck Matt at Kansas. He just turned him. There is a huge difference between what Joey did and what Matt did. Personally, I think it's time for Matt to retire. Some of you haters need to learn the difference between turning someone and pile driving another car into the wall. Matt would have done the same thing if the roles were reversed.

    1. Anonymous3:01 AM

      I agree, holding "your line" after laps of blocking all over the place is now considered not racing. Of course till next year when it is ANYBODY but a Ford, then it will be all right with the world, and articles will be written about the brilliance and toughness of "holding your line". The hypocrisy astounds. Sad time for racing. IMO.

  9. Anonymous11:35 PM

    The Old Ladies Club can't stand the young guy, he isn't asking for permissioin and is being raced the way they have raced him for years....OPPPPSSSSSS.

  10. Anonymous11:36 PM

    matt made some bad choices in that 3 race block. It wasn't logano's fault. pfft.