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NASCAR Cup Series

Joey Logano Focused on First Sprint Cup Title

Joey Logano has experienced his share of highs and lows as a NASCAR Sprint Cup competitor since his debut in 2008.

Highly touted as a young racer to watch when he was originally competing for Joe Gibbs Racing as the successor to the No. 20 ride originally driven by Tony Stewart to the extremely talented, aggressive, and daring veteran competitor piloting the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford for Team Penske, it’s been quite the journey for the Middletown, CT native.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that Logano is only 26 years old, a relatively young age in a sport that’s become considerably younger in the past 20 years.

Logano has surely dropped the hammer towards the title fight in 2016. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson/The Racing Experts)

Logano has surely dropped the hammer towards the title fight in 2016. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson/The Racing Experts)

Then again, with accomplishments like a 2015 Daytona 500 victory, 16 additional Cup wins, and oh yes, a career best fourth place points finish in 2014, those are incredible stats for a driver at Logano’s age and echelon.

That’s where Logano separates himself from those who are content versus those who’ll never be content.

Sure, that youth and enthusiasm is still finding that fine line for this Penske racer.  He’s learning from his moments with Matt Kenseth that essentially cost him a shot to battle for the championship last year.

Perhaps equally as pivotal towards Logano’s maturation since joining Team Penske in 2013 has been that bitter title defeat just a couple of seasons ago.

“It’s definitely different,” Logano said.  “You know, you think about everything that’s kind of come about the last couple years, and as you’ve learned how to handle these situations and how to fight through them, living it once before usually helps a lot, so I feel a lot more confident coming into this for sure.”

Logano’s observed for being a driver who typically smiles a lot, even in the toughest of situations.  Certainly, he had to be asked about his positive demeanor, which could only be rivaled by that of Rob Lowe’s beloved character Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation.

OK, so he doesn't always smile, but you get the picture.

OK, so he doesn’t always smile, but you get the picture.

“You know, it’s just who I am,” Logano mused.  “I honestly enjoy life, and I should.  I’m living my dream.  Why wouldn’t I enjoy what I’m doing?

With that being said, I’m very intense, as well, as a competitor.  There’s a lot of intensity that comes through me, and I wear my emotions on my sleeve, so a lot of times you’ll see me when I’m map, but most of the time I’m happy because there’s something bigger in my life that I realize what I’m doing this all for, and I think that just kind of makes me happy.”

While stopping short from using the word literally in his pressers during the championship race weekend, it can be said that Logano has literally put together a fantastic season up to this point.

With wins at Michigan, Talladega, and Phoenix along with 15 top-10’s and 25 top-10’s, Logano has parlayed consistency along with those wins when they’re within grasp.  Contrast that with the racer seen in the past two years and it’s surely a sign of a racer who’s grown up and learned from his experiences.

“There was a point in the season that I wasn’t sure that we were going to get this far, you know, and we’ve definitely found a lot of speed in our race cars in both the 2 and the 22 at Team Penske, and then to the point, it’s like, man, we’ve got something to win this championship,” Logano admitted.

“It’s a long season.  The sport is cyclical.  It goes up and down.  You’re good for a little bit, and the next thing you know you’re looking for more and people catch up.  It’s just part of it.”

All about that Chase.

All about that Chase.

Cyclical is certainly the best way to describe each of the #Championship4 drivers’ careers.  Busch has harnessed his aggressive nature towards his efforts in winning the title last year, Edwards has overcome three bitter defeats to battle for a fourth chance at his first title, and Logano has been learning that fine line between youth and enthusiasm.

Just to fight for the championship could be all that Logano needs in terms of motivation in his second shot towards winning the Cup.

“I can’t even wait to get on the racetrack because I know we’re ready,” Logano said.  “I know we’ve done everything we have to do back at the shop as a driver personally, mentally to be there.  I feel very prepared and very ready to attack when we get on the racetrack.”

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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