Team Penske driver Joey Logano concedes the Fords as a group haven’t quite caught up with the speed shown by the Chevrolets and Toyotas in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Nevertheless, the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang considers himself the favorite to win a second title.
His rationale hinges on the performance of his team heading into Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500, the first Playoff race at Darlington (6 p.m. ET on USA, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
“You know me—I always feel like I’m the favorite,” Logano said on Thursday during NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Media Day at the Charlotte Convention Center. “I race that way. That confidence is very important, and I think we have reason to feel that way.
“If I look at the last five races, we’ve scored more points than anybody—44 points more than anybody the last five races. That says a lot about our team, shows where we are about maximizing our days, and that’s what the Playoff is about…
“I told my team this yesterday—we’re the favorites, and here’s why.”
Logano proceeded to enumerate the factors that have buoyed his confidence entering the postseason.
“If you do the work, and you feel prepared, I’d better feel like I’m the best out there,” Logano said. “There’s a balance between all that, right? Because do I feel like I’m the best in every category on the race track? No. But I feel like I’m the best well-rounded driver on the race track, and that’s important.
“I feel like my team is executing on all eight (cylinders) right now. When you look at the way we are managing the races from a strategy standpoint, (crew chief) Paul (Wolfe) is doing great at that, where we’re finishing better than the speed in our car. So that part’s great.
“Our pit stops have been solid. That’s what you want out of your pit crew… Our restarts and execution on the race track have been great here lately. That’s where we’ve really made the difference. When you look at the stage points and the finishes, all that’s coming from how we execute the races throughout it, without the fastest car.
“And then when we get a car that’s capable of winning—look out!”
The tracks in the Round of 16 set up nicely for Logano, too. He won this year’s spring race at Darlington from the pole. At Kansas and Bristol, host venues for the second and third Playoff races, Logano has a combined five victories, three at Kansas and two on the Bristol concrete.
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