Sprint Cup Driver Review: Joey Logano

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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
DNFs: 3

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.

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Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.