Penske Racing’s Joey Logano rattled off six consecutive Top-10s (which included a win) and then survived at Richmond to make this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. But the post-season has not been kind to him.
An engine failure in the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway effectively buried his chances of contending for a title, and as the post-season moves to Martinsville Speedway this weekend, he finds himself 12th out of the 13 Chasers.
The only consolation is that he’s likely not to finish last among them, as he has a 27-point gap between himself and 13th-place Kasey Kahne with four races left in the season.
Logano still sees 2013 as a decent year, but in a teleconference this afternoon, he also admitted that “we’re still not to where we want to be” – we’re being himself and his No. 22 Penske Racing squad.
“We’re 12th in points and we’re not happy about that,” Logano said. “We want to show the reasons why we’re in the Chase and I feel like we’ve definitely had some fast race cars – that’s why we’re here.
“But at the same time we haven’t shown the finishes that we deserve since we got in the Chase. We’ve had a few top-five finishes since we got in it, but that’s not enough to move ourselves to where we need to be.”
Logano is hopeful that Martinsville will yield a more positive result. He was one of multiple drivers that tested there earlier this month and the opportunity allowed him to learn, in his words, “some things to do and some things not to do, which are equally valuable.”
In fact, the whole Chase – Logano’s first – has been a chance to learn, even as he and his team do all they can to finish the year strong.
“For one, I know it’s really hard to make up points when you have a bad race because these guys running for the championship that are first, second, third and fourth right now, they don’t have any bad races,” he explained.
“It’s hard to recover, so those little mistakes and where we need to fine-tune is where we need to be better to be that championship-winning team, but we’re not far from it right now.”