Logano racing his own race

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 18: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 44th Annual Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 18, 2013 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 18:  Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 44th Annual Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 18, 2013 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, MI – AUGUST 18: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 44th Annual Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 18, 2013 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

BRISTOL, Tenn.—Even with a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on the line, Joey Logano can’t afford to focus on the drivers he has to beat for one of the 12 berths in NASCAR’s playoffs.

So don’t expect Logano and crew chief Todd Gordon to alter their strategy at Bristol based on what their closest competitors might do.

“Todd and I have talked about what we need to do this weekend, and we just need to do what we’ve been doing and not worry about what other people are doing,” Logano told the NASCAR Wire Service before Friday’s first Sprint Cup practice session at Bristol. “Go out there and get the best finish you possibly can, not racing other cars.

“Don’t focus on what the 16 car (Greg Biffle) is doing. Focus on what you’re doing to get the best finish you can. If you do that often enough, you’re going to pass him in points. But if you make a four-tire change because he made a four-tire change or only do two because of what he did, it’s not going to work out.”

Logano’s victory last Sunday at Michigan put the driver of the No. 22 Penske Ford squarely in the mix for a Chase spot. He’s 13th in the Cup standings, 17 points behind Biffle in 10th, the last guaranteed Chase spot, and seven points back of Martin Truex Jr. in the race for the second wild card berth.

The margin between Dale Earnhardt Jr. in seventh and Ryan Newman in 15th is 43 points, reinforcing Logano’s view that there are too many drivers in the mix to warrant concentrating on other teams and their strategies.

Should the field narrow, however, and evolve into a head-to-head battle at Richmond for the last Chase spot — as it did with Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch last year — Logano’s attitude might be different.

“If it comes down to you’re racing only one car,” he said, “you’re going to keep paying attention to what that guy is doing and doing what you’ve got to do to beat hi m —or if you have to stay really close to him to make sure you get in.

“It’s going to be a crazy race.”

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.