Joey Logano ‘still hungry for more’ after second Cup title

Joey Logano knows it would be a great story if he could explain how winning the preseason Clash led to him winning the 2022 Cup Championship.

He still considers winning the Clash a big deal, but knows that winning the exhibition in February didn’t get him going by winning the season finale in Phoenix to capture his second career Cup title.

The Team Penske driver can think back to last year’s Clash and know how different this one will be. Last year, the Clash marked the debut, and various unknowns, of NASCAR’s new Next Gen car races on a new (and also untested) temporary track built on top of the field where they have been played some of the greatest football games ever played. of the country’s largest cities.

“It’s momentum building, and it’s a small sense of pride to be able to get the first win in the Clash and Next Gen car,” Logano said. “This is something special. I don’t know if there was a growing shock.”

So Logano returns to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum this weekend for another preseason clash as the defending race winner and defending Cup champion.

Most people will remember those big wins. Logano certainly can’t forget them, but they won’t mean much when he mashes the gas at the green flag Sunday (5 p.m. ET stops; main event at 8 p.m. ET on FOX).

“I don’t really think much about ‘defending’ a championship or ‘defending’ the Clash,” Logano said. “For me, it’s just about winning. It’s that simple.

“I don’t make things more complicated than they have to be. The goal is the same between the season and the Clash: it’s to win… Whatever your finish was last year, it really isn’t. That part is it’s over. Go to the next one.”

Logano winning the Clash

Logano winning the Clash

Joey Logano talks about last year’s Clash win and how he kept his momentum going throughout the season.

And then, after the crash is over, we’ll hit Daytona for the sport’s biggest event (Sunday, Feb. 19, 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX). Last year, Logano saw his Daytona 500 hopes evaporate when he got stuck on the turf with a flat tire and needed a few laps to be towed back to the tarmac.

The euphoria of winning the Clash was a distant memory at the time.

“[The Clash] It was a great win,” Logano said. “It didn’t come with any points to help you the rest of the year.

“The drive just got killed at Daytona when I was sitting in the field for three laps trying to get out of a crane with flat tires.”

Logano said the parity created by the Next Gen car has changed the dynamic of winning a Cup title. Last year, 19 drivers won races and no driver won more than five. Neither the drivers nor the organizations ever established themselves as clear favourites, and running in the top 5 consistently seemed to be more difficult.

Impact of the Next Gen car

Impact of the Next Gen car

Joey Logano talks about being the first defending champion of the Next Gen era.

“Winning is different now because of the Next Gen car,” Logano said. “That changed everything for us. Because the cars are now closer in speed, different things now win races.

“Where before you could get away with a bad pit stop or a restart or a not-so-good strategy, and you could recover because your car is fast. Now if the whole field is close. speed, you have to be perfect in the details.”

Logano was spot on in the details when it mattered most as he added a championship trophy to his 2018 haul.

And while it won’t matter much this weekend, Logano will have a constant reminder of his 2022 title. He has a new patch on his uniform, one that designates him as a two-time Cup champion.

“There’s a 2X, I like it,” Logano said. “Honestly, I see the 2X there, it’s great. But I guess the way I’m wired is that I look at it and say, ‘It should be three or four.’

“That’s my attitude and the way I look at it. I think more of the ones that got away than the ones that we succeeded in. … I’m still hungry for more.”

“It should be three or four”

"It should be three or four"

Joey Logano talked about his 2x championship patch and how he maintains a hungry mindset.

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Thinking out loud

NASCAR’s decision to ban the “Hail Melon” – the move when Ross Chastain mashed the gas and used the wall at Martinsville Speedway to steer his car, allowing him to pass several competitors and advance in the round finale of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs- made my heart sink. My brain is fine with that, but did it really have to come to this?

Probably yes. The next driver who tries it and gets it wrong could lead to catastrophe. If several riders try it at once, it could be just as noticeable as Chastain’s move, only with the opposite reaction.

If NASCAR didn’t ban it and something bad happened the next time a driver tried it, I would have said that NASCAR should have expected it and reacted sooner.

So in that sense, I get it. It was a decision NASCAR had to make. But the move was such an incredible spectacle that it would be great to see it again.

Social reference point

They said it

“The NASCAR cars will bring the noise, and I will bring the party.” —Wiz Khalifa, who will perform during the Clash’s halftime break on Sunday.

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the last 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrassand register at FOX Sports NASCAR Newscast with Bob Pockrass.

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