Joey Logano enters NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 race brimming with confidence

AVONDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 07: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 07, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Chase Elliott may have the illusory “momentum” — thanks to his 11th-hour victory at Martinsville Speedway — but Joey Logano considers himself the favorite to win a second NASCAR Cup Series title in Sunday’s Season Finale 500 at Phoenix Raceway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Logano’s confidence is founded on facts. The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford was the winner at Phoenix in March, before the coronavirus pandemic interrupted the NASCAR season. Logano won the opening race in the Playoff’s Round of 8 at Kansas Speedway and has had three weeks to prepare for the title race—assured of his chance to race for the championship.

He and Paul Wolfe are the only driver/crew chief combination in the final four where both have won NASCAR Cup championships. Wolfe won his title in 2012 as crew chief for Logano’s teammate, Brad Keselowski.

Logano won the Championship 4 race in 2018, beating Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.

“I think the experience is there, the speed is there,” Logano said on Thursday during a Zoom question-and-answer session with reporters. “I think the mentality of the way we race is there. I truly believe that we’re the favorites to win this thing.

“Like I said, that’s important to me to feel that way. I feel like I have real things to back that up, which is good.”

He and Wolfe are of the same mind.

“Believing in yourself, right? Our tag line the whole time since this Playoff started,” Logano said. “I came up with a list of six or seven things I thought was the most important things for a team to be able to rally behind. I brought that list to Paul. I said, ‘What is the most important thing on this list to you that makes a great team? These are the things we had to do to try to become a stronger team.’

“He saw the word ‘believe’. He said that’s the biggest thing. We’ve got to believe in each other. We’ve got to believe in ourselves. We’ve got to believe we can win. We’ve got to believe we’re the best. Be humble to work and find gains but believe in us. That was the word that we all rallied behind.”

Greg Engle