BRISTOL, Tenn.—Even with a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on the line, Joey Logano can’t afford to focus on the drivers he has to beat for one of the 12 berths in NASCAR’s playoffs.
So don’t expect Logano and crew chief Todd Gordon to alter their strategy at Bristol based on what their closest competitors might do.
“Todd and I have talked about what we need to do this weekend, and we just need to do what we’ve been doing and not worry about what other people are doing,” Logano told the NASCAR Wire Service before Friday’s first Sprint Cup practice session at Bristol. “Go out there and get the best finish you possibly can, not racing other cars.
“Don’t focus on what the 16 car (Greg Biffle) is doing. Focus on what you’re doing to get the best finish you can. If you do that often enough, you’re going to pass him in points. But if you make a four-tire change because he made a four-tire change or only do two because of what he did, it’s not going to work out.”
Logano’s victory last Sunday at Michigan put the driver of the No. 22 Penske Ford squarely in the mix for a Chase spot. He’s 13th in the Cup standings, 17 points behind Biffle in 10th, the last guaranteed Chase spot, and seven points back of Martin Truex Jr. in the race for the second wild card berth.
The margin between Dale Earnhardt Jr. in seventh and Ryan Newman in 15th is 43 points, reinforcing Logano’s view that there are too many drivers in the mix to warrant concentrating on other teams and their strategies.
Should the field narrow, however, and evolve into a head-to-head battle at Richmond for the last Chase spot — as it did with Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch last year — Logano’s attitude might be different.
“If it comes down to you’re racing only one car,” he said, “you’re going to keep paying attention to what that guy is doing and doing what you’ve got to do to beat hi m —or if you have to stay really close to him to make sure you get in.
“It’s going to be a crazy race.”