RICHMOND, Va. – For Joey Logano, this is it.
The Team Penske driver’s championship hopes have been distilled into one 400-lap race on Saturday night at Richmond Raceway.
If Logano puts his No. 22 Ford into Victory Lane in the Federated Auto Parts 400 (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN), he’ll be part of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff. Anything less, and he’ll watch 16 other drivers compete for the title in the 10-race playoff.
Logano won the April race at Richmond, but his car failed post-race inspection at NASCAR’s Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina, because of a rear suspension violation. Accordingly, Logano lost the right to count the encumbered victory toward qualification for the playoff.
Subsequently, the No. 22 team floundered, knocking Logano out of contention for a playoff spot on points. A victory is his only path to the postseason, and Richmond is his last chance.
“We’re in a do-or-die situation,” Logano acknowledged before opening practice on Friday morning. “Anytime you can win a race in that situation, there is no better feeling than that. Also, returning here after our win in the spring and obviously the drama that followed, it would be very nice to be able to get back in Victory Lane and prove a point.
“I don’t see any reason why we can’t. We had great pit stops last week (at Darlington). Second place is a failure when you look at the goal this week. It’s win or nothing. We have to race that way. Hopefully it all works out. We’ll just have to wait and see. We will see what our car has in a few minutes, we will tune on it and give it all we’ve got.”