Joey Logano can see what Kevin Harvick is doing.
He just can’t duplicate it, and that’s a major source of frustration as Logano and Team Penske try to match the speed of the six-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner.
“We have all the data these days,” Logano said. “We have all the SMT stuff (comparative SportsMEDIA Technology data) to look over. ‘Oh, he’s doing this different as a driver. He’s doing that different.’ His car is allowing him to do that, where I try to do that, and I can’t. My car is not allowing me to do that.
“So it’s a little frustrating sometimes, because you can see it and you’re like, ‘Oh, I just have to do that,’ but you can’t do it. So you know what you’ve got to get to. I guess it gives you a good goal and a good baseline to try to get off of. He’s driving a Ford as well, so we know it’s possible. We just have to get to that point.”
Logano has a victory at Talladega this season and an accompanying guaranteed berth in the Playoffs, but the No. 22 Ford team hasn’t been able to run with NASCAR’s triumvirate of Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., who collectively have won 16 of the 21 events so far this season.
“We all talk about the big three and how fast they are,” Logano said. “Well, we’re not going to catch them if we don’t try something different. A majority of the time, when you try something, it doesn’t work, but maybe one out of 10 things you try does work, and you’re able to make some gains.
“I think just the mentality and the thought process has changed a little bit on how can we get faster for when we get to the Playoffs, because the speed that we have right now is not enough to win the championship. We have to get better, no doubt.
“The only way I know how to get better is you have to try new things. You have to be willing to change as a driver, as a team with the setups, the way we build cars and the thought process. Things have to change to be able to keep up with the top three cars right now that we constantly talk about, and we constantly see winning.”