Joey Logano continued to dominate the pressure-filled Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, punching his ticket to the Eliminator Round by winning at Kansas on Sunday. The 24-year-old led 122-of-267 laps (45.7%) and registered a 144.7 driver rating on his way to Victory Lane.
“On fire” is the only way to describe Logano since the Chase started. In four Chase races, he boasts two wins and a series-best average finish of 2.5.
While he is starting to gain attention as a serious championship contender now, Logano’s mega success pre-dates the Chase. Since finishing 40th at New Hampshire in July, Logano has failed to log a top 10 in just one out of 11 races – a 14th-place showing at Atlanta where he was running sixth before wrecking on a restart with five laps left. During his stretch of top 10s, Logano owns eight top-five finishes.
The No. 22 Ford Fusion driver ranks tied with Team Penske shop mate Brad Keselowski for the series lead with five wins – two more than his career total in five full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seasons entering this year.
With two races left in the Contender Round, Logano can do himself a big favor by continuing to win, even though he has already qualified for the eight-driver Eliminator Round. By finishing first he can potentially keep pre-Chase favorites Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. from advancing – which would certainly help his championship cause. Keselowski (1) and Johnson (6) have accounted for seven of the last eight NSCS championships, while Earnhardt showed major speed at Kansas, leading 45 laps before hitting the wall.
Logano next hits the track in the Bank of America 500 on Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on ABC). In 11 Queen City starts, he has claimed three top-five and six top-10 finishes.
On a related note, Charlotte could prove to be a panacea for Keselowski, as he looks to get back on track after a 36th-place finish at Kansas. The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion driver took the checkered flag in last October’s Bank of America 500.