Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Logano Looks to Put Richmond Penalty in the Rear-View Mirror

By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor

Needless to say, the past week has been a rollercoaster ride for Joey Logano and his No. 22 team after winning at Richmond only to have a mid-week penalty strip the benefits of the win from the driver and team and set them back to square one heading into Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega, where Logano looks to score his second win in a row at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.

Despite losing all of the benefits of the win from last weekend, the always positive Logano has maintained that same attitude entering the weekend at Talladega and has managed to look on the bright side of what many deem as a pretty severe penalty for his team.

“What we got in trouble for was something that really didn’t make our car any faster,” said Logano. “It wasn’t enough to make it much faster, so, personally inside, I still look at it as a win.  Obviously, from the outside we’ve lost all the benefits of the win.  We’ve lost the playoff points.  We’ve lost a lot of regular points.  We’ve lost our crew chief for a couple of weeks.  We’ve lost some cash.  The penalty is pretty severe.  With that being said, it wasn’t like it was a big thing, but the rule is written and it’s black and white.  We pushed a little bit too far and we’ll pay that penalty and move on and attack again.”

“The silver lining to it all is I think this team has a great attitude and we’re able to obviously race very hard and we race aggressively, whether that’s apparently everywhere, but we race aggressive on the race track and off the race track and that’s why we’re successful and that’s why we win races, and we’re going to continue to do that because we’ve got the right attitude to go out there and push hard and we’ll get through this little tough time without our crew chief, but we have a lot of depth at Team Penske that we can look back at.”

As of late, Logano and his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski have established themselves as two of the top restrictor plate racers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage and if recent history is any indication, both of the drivers will be in the mix again on Sunday afternoon.

Logano has won two of the last three races at Talladega, as well as finishing in the top-five four times, in the top-10 six times, leading 127 laps, and currently having an average finish of 18.7 in 16 starts. In addition, Logano has finished in the top-10 in four of the last five races at Daytona, so the restrictor plate package from Team Penske is among the tops in the Cup Series.

“We’re ready to get on the race track,” said Logano. “Any week we’re ready to get on the race track no matter what, but Talladega has been a good race track for us in the past.  It’s either really good or really bad in all honesty.  We’ve either had a car that’s capable of winning or we crash.  That’s kind of how it seems it is for this team, but I’m alright with that.  I’m okay with the way these races play out, so I’m looking forward to getting out there and knocking a little bit of the rust off.  Anytime you come to these superspeedways you haven’t done it in a little bit it takes a lap or two to kind of get used to the lingo again with your spotter and what’s going on, and getting used to that four-wide draft that you see here at Talladega.  That makes it a lot of fun for us, so I’m ready to get out there and have some fun today.”

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.