SEASON IN REVIEW
Joey Logano’s 2013 season has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride. He finished outside the top-10 in the first four races of the season, before finishing fourth at California Motor Speedway. The top-five finish didn’t come without some controversy as he battled with former teammate, Denny Hamlin, for the win in the closing laps, and viciously wrecked Hamlin as they came to the checkered flag. Hamlin slammed into the inside wall near pit road and had to be rushed to a hospital due to a spine injury. His rivalry with Hamlin wasn’t his only problem, as Tony Stewart showed his displeasure with Logano for blocking him on the final restart of the race as well.
The three-time champion wasted no time roughing up Logano on pit road with some yelling and a few punches, before crew members were able to break up the scuffle and escort both drivers to their respective motor coaches.
The fight soon resulted in negative media attention on Logano for several weeks, as fans were pumped up after Stewart called Logano a “trust fund racer,” and promised to wreck him the next time he was in Stewart’s way.
After the altercation at California, Logano followed up his top-five finish at California with another finish outside the top-10 at Martinsville Speedway. By this time he reached 21st in Sprint Cup points, despite only having one top-10 in five races.
Logano was derailed once again at Texas Motor Speedway, as his car failed prerace inspection, due to an adjustment in the rear end housing of his car. Despite the promise of future penalties, Logano was able to recover from starting at the back of the 43 car field and finished third.
The Tuesday after the race at Texas, penalties were handed down to the Penske camp for their illegal adjustments in Saturday’s race. Not only did Logano receive a 25 driver’s point penalty, but also faced the possibility of losing his crew chief, Todd Gordon for up to seven races. The penalties were later reduced after a failed appeal, and Joey’s crew chief was only suspended for three races (Darlington, All Star race, and Charlotte).
Logano did little to help his chances of making the chase, finishing 39th at Kansas after an early wreck involving himself, and Kyle Busch. The incident dropped Logano down six spots in points to 20th place in the point standings.
A week later, Logano seemed to shine under the Saturday night lights once again, finishing third at Richmond Motor Speedway. The top-five moved Logano back up to 17th in the point standings. The Connecticut native followed up that great finish with an engine failure at Talladega, causing him to once again flop in the point standings to 18th, even more disappointing then the finish, was the announcement that Todd Gordon would officially be suspended for the next three races of the season due to the penalties handed down after The NRA 500.
Without Todd Gordon, Logano suffered a 22nd place finish at the Darlington night race, dropping him down to 19th place point standings. He followed up the disastrous finish at Darlington with a great showing in the Coca-Cola 600, finishing fifth.
With Todd Gordon back as crew chief at Dover, Logano finished in the top-10 for three straight weeks, including a ninth place run at Michigan International Raceway. Joey Logano seemed to be on good ground in the point standings, sitting in 13th place despite untimely point penalties, crew chief suspensions, and multiple engine failures throughout the season. Not even a complicated road course like Sonoma could trip up the three year sprint cup veteran, as he finished just outside the top-10 in 11th place. Surviving the wicked road course paid dividends for the Penske racing driver, putting him 14th in the point standings.
Logano had another great top-five finish at the night race in Kentucky, finishing in fourth place and moving up to tenth in the point standings. Despite finishing in the top-15 in six straight races, Logano had major setbacks at both Daytona, and Loudon, dropping sliding him all the way back to 18th in the standings.
CHANCES OF MAKING THE CHASE
Although Logano has had a much more productive season then in the past, the young driver is still incapable of putting together good finishes on a consistent basis. He also finds himself with a target on his back, due to the way he races many of the other drivers in The Cup series, most notably Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin. Logano has proven to be a more significant threat since moving to Penske racing, but with engine and tire failures hurting his good finishes, it may take some time for him and his new race team to get on the same page.