Joey Logano now must test his “do-or-die” theory

LOUDON, NH - JULY 14: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton's 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2017 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

LOUDON, N.H. – Joey Logano is firm believer that his No. 22 Team Penske outfit is at its best with backs against the wall.

After Sunday’s Overton’s 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Logano will have a chance to prove that premise.

A rear suspension failure sent Logano to the garage after 173 of 301 laps. After losing 33 laps during repairs to his Ford, Logano finished 37th and fell 52 points behind fourth-place finisher Matt Kenseth for the final spot in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff.

With seven races left before the playoff grid is set, Logano, whose earlier victory this season at Richmond is encumbered because of a penalty, likely must win a race to qualify.

“It’s not good—at all,” Logano said. “Right now we’re in the position where we have to execute. We have to finish the best as possible, and we didn’t do that today. We have to go back to work and make sure our cars stay together, and we have to get faster. All three of our cars (including the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford of Ryan Blaney) were a little off today. I guess Brad (Keselowski) is probably the best driver at this race track and I try to learn from him and he was struggling out there with me.

“It was a humbling day. This race team knows how to do this. All of Team Penske knows how to win races and make cars fast. They do it in a bunch of different series and have been doing it over here for years. We have to stay together. Stay as a team. Keep pushing. If it happens, it happens. Hopefully we can get some speed enough to squeak a win out before the playoffs and get our 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford into the playoffs.”

The situation is nothing new to Logano who won elimination races at both Talladega and Phoenix in last year’s playoff to keep his championship hopes alive.

“Must win, back against the wall,” Logano said. “We won both times. The team has it in them. We just have to get faster to be able to do that. Our team executes well. We just have to have something to race with a little bit.”

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.