Lack of Sprint Cup practice doesn’t worry Joey Logano

MARTINSVILLE, VA - MARCH 29: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, looks on in the garage area during a rain delay in practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
MARTINSVILLE, VA - MARCH 29:  Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, looks on in the garage area during a rain delay in practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
MARTINSVILLE, VA – MARCH 29: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, looks on in the garage area during a rain delay in practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

MARTINSVILLE, Va.— When it comes to making the cut, Joey Logano is in elite company.

The only two drivers to make the final 12 in each of the five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series knockout qualifying sessions so far are Logano and six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson.

In fact, Logano set a track record (100.201 mph) Friday at Martinsville Speedway in leading the first round of qualifying for Sunday’s STP 500. In the second round, which determined the Coors Light Pole Award winner, Logano was third-fastest behind Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.

Logano has topped the speed chart in five of the 12 rounds of knockout qualifying held so far, under a format that features two rounds at tracks under 1.25 miles in length and three rounds at tracks 1.25 miles and longer.

“And we only have one pole (at Las Vegas), so I’m winning the wrong rounds, and it’s really frustrating me,” Logano quipped after Friday’s time trials.

Though Logano’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford was better in qualifying trim than in race trim, the 23-year-old driver from Middletown, Conn., wasn’t particularly concerned with the prospect of losing both Saturday practice sessions to rain.

“I still feel pretty good about it,” after Saturday morning’s practice was wiped out. “[Crew chief] Todd [Gordon] and I have talked a lot about what we need here to race well and kind of just what we’ve been doing at every other track.

“We don’t really show a ton of speed in practice, and we feel pretty good when the race starts, so even if it rains out today, it’s not the end of the world. I’m not really worried about it. Obviously, people take their practice to try things and learn something, but really, in all honesty, we’re OK. I feel like we have a shot at it.”

Logano will have to wait until Sunday to find out if he’s right. Rain subsequently forced cancelation of final practice, and no Sprint Cup cars got track time on Saturday.

About Greg Engle 7420 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 Examiner.com 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.