Logano stays motivated as new season approaches

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 12:  Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, looks on in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 12, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 12: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, looks on in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 12, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Two flirtations with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship and the continuing strength of the Team Penske organization over the past two years have only intensified Joey Logano’s desire to win a first title in the series.

To win, though, he’ll have to avoid the sorts of pitfalls that have derailed him. In 2014, a pit road snafu ruined his chances in the Championship Round race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Last year, a feud with Matt Kenseth culminating in a wreck at Martinsville knocked Logano out of the Chase in the Round of 8.

“The last two years have been career seasons for me,” Logano said on Friday at Daytona International Speedway. “I feel like we had two championship seasons without a trophy. We have a lot of confidence. We know what it takes to win this whole thing. We have been right on that edge. Arguably, with the most wins last year (six), we should have been there but that’s the way the format is, and that’s the way we play it, and it is what it is.

“I feel like I learned a lot as a driver the last few years and what I need to do to make it happen. I feel like I’ve found new levels as a driver to reach. I know I am a silver linings person, but I feel like that’s something you have to have, that confidence and not get beat down. I feel like there’s nothing to hold our heads down about. We’ve had two great seasons.”

This past season included a victory in the Daytona 500, but Logano will have to buck the odds to win back-to-back editions of the Great American Race. The last driver to win consecutive Daytona 500s was Sterling Marlin in 1994 and 1995.

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