After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year.
Coming up eighth after earning his first berth in the Chase was Joey Logano…
No. 22 Penske Racing Ford
2013 Stats: Eighth Place, One Win, 11 Top-5s, 19 Top-10s, 323 Laps Led
Average Start: 12.0
Average Finish: 14.1
Estrada Says: Through the early parts of 2013, trouble kept finding Joey Logano. His rivalry with Denny Hamlin boiled over at Fontana with a last-lap incident that sent Hamlin into the inside retaining wall, injuring his back. After that race, Tony Stewart had it out with Logano briefly on pit road following an earlier restart incident. Then in April at Texas, he and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski had their rear-end housings confiscated by NASCAR; penalties followed. But Logano found his stride when the regular season wound down. His win at Michigan in August galvanized his post-season hopes, and he would ultimately make his first Chase. Unfortunately for him, his hot streak ended in the Chase opener at Chicagoland thanks to a blown motor. From there, he could only get back up to eighth in points by season’s end.
DiZinno Says: Despite the aforementioned early season frequency of contact, Logano settled down when the year entered into the midseason. With a run of six straight top-10 finishes from Indianapolis through Atlanta, including his Michigan win, Logano propelled himself from his usual 16th-17th place in the points standings into Chase contention. There was slight controversy at Richmond regarding his position on track being improved by another car dropping back, but Logano and the Penske Racing team weren’t found guilty in any regard. His Chase was disappointing, but eighth still marked a career year. Further consistency and more wins will see Logano ascend to the next level in 2014.