Can Joey Logano deliver an encore performance Saturday in the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway, where he became the youngest driver to win a Nationwide Series race last year?
Certainly, Logano is capable of becoming the first driver to win back-to-back Nationwide races at Kentucky. He's driving Joe Gibbs Racing's formidable No. 20 Toyota, a car that dominated the series with multiple drivers last year, and he's far more experienced at the top levels of NASCAR.
Logano's victory a year ago was achieved in his third Nationwide start, 21 days after reaching NASCAR's minimum age of 18 to race in a national series. Since then, he has competed in 27 Nationwide and 17 Sprint Cup races.
“I feel like me as a driver compared to last year, I feel like I'm a lot better, so everything is kind of adding up,” Logano said. “Everything is getting better.”
Logano added his second Nationwide win in April at Nashville Superspeedway. He's not running the full schedule and skipped last week's second Nashville stop, but he's still fifth in the points with six top fives in 11 starts out of the 13 races.
“Our GameStop Toyota is running really good this year,” Logano said. “(At Dover) obviously we got the pole by almost three-tenths of a second, so it goes to show (crew chief) Dave Rogers and the whole gang are still on the A game, doing great.”
Logano finished second at Dover in his most recent race. He ran into leader and teammate Kyle Busch during a green-white-chequered finish, spinning out Busch and allowing Brad Keselowski to drive past and take the victory. Logano recovered to finish second. Busch finished 17th and stormed out of the #18 Toyota without comment. It later came out that Busch had a right-front tyre down.
“That (tyre issue) made me feel a little bit better, but I was still bummed out we didn't win the race,” Logano said. “I went through an emotional roller coaster after that race. I was about to win the thing and then bummed out, thinking you wrecked your team-mate.”
Busch won his fourth race of the season last week at Nashville. He's the points leader, 65 in front of Carl Edwards.
Logano and Busch had a stirring duel at Kentucky last year. Busch led a race-high 85 laps but was trying to regain the lead from Logano with 37 laps to go and spun into the Turn 2 wall. Logano started from the pole and led 76 laps, including the final 54.
“That win at Kentucky was one of the biggest things, if not the biggest thing, that's happened in my career to keep it going (upward),” Logano said. “That's kind of what got me into the Cup ride that I'm in now.”
by Sporting News