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Joey Logano Prepares for Challenging Battle at Dover

Joey Logano hones in on a challenging 400-miler at Dover. (Photo: RIley Thompson | The Podium Finish)

Joey Logano hones in on a challenging 400-miler at Dover. (Photo: RIley Thompson | The Podium Finish)

DOVER, Del. – As successful as Joey Logano has been throughout his NASCAR Cup Series career, it may come as a surprise that he has yet to win at Dover Motor Speedway.

On five occasions, he has finished in the top-five, including three third place results in 2010, 2013 and 2018. He has tallied 15 top-10 results along the way in his 26 starts.

Missing within those respectable results is a victory, somewhat surprising considering his four victories at this same track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Given his successes in that division at Dover, it is a bit of a conundrum as to why the Middletown, Connecticut native has not won a Cup race at “The Monster Mile.”

“It’s really been a tough track for us as a whole,” Logano said. “All the Penske, we just haven’t had our heads wrapped around this place and quite some time now, probably our most challenging racetrack at the moment. So we have nothing in the cards.

“It’s the same as last year, so cross your fingers can’t be much worse. So, let’s give that a shot. So, yeah, we’ve got to change it up, do something different. Different mindsets, different setups, different approaches all the way through.”

Last year, Logano started 22nd and struggled throughout the 400-miler before getting involved in a Turn 1 crash with Erik Jones on Lap 197. The incident relegated the two-time Cup champion to a 29th place result, four laps off the pace.

This time around, Logano starts deeper in the field due to qualifying being rained out on Saturday morning. As a result of metric qualifying, the 32-year-old starts 26th, about as far back as it gets with trying to contend at Dover.

If there is a bit of trepidation or worry with Logano and his No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang team, he is not showing it. Perhaps one aspect that works to his advantage is the fact that he and his peers will take on a relatively green track, or a surface that does not have rubber laid down.

For at least the opening moments of Monday’s Würth 400, Logano expects the track to evolve with its conditions.

Logano expects the track conditions to change or evolve once more rubber is on the concrete surface at Dover. (Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

Logano expects the track conditions to change or evolve once more rubber is on the concrete surface at Dover. (Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

“It’s going to change as the rubber lays down short run or long run,” he said. “Maybe not a whole bunch, but just as the race goes along in practice here in particular, as it starts here, it’s going to be very green.

“And then the second practice should rubber up, which we won’t know what that’s like because we’re in a group race. So we’ll kind of have to wait and see how that goes. But I think as the race goes along, the first 100 laps, a lot (will change).”

From an aerial view, it is easy to compare Dover to its SMI sister in Bristol, Tennessee. Beyond having a concrete surface, especially for the latter during its late summer date, there are still quite a bit of differences.

“I guess the shape of it is double the size, but outside of that, it races a lot different,” he said. “You get used to it. I think everyone remembers their first time here at Dover and you make a lap and you’re like, Whoa, like I have like 400 of those. Like, there’s no way. And I think that that is always there for the first couple laps.”

As for the grueling experience being in the driver’s seat at Dover, Logano realizes there is a bit of a fun factor with this track during qualifying or clean conditions at the 1-mile concrete beast.

“When you first go out there, you go, ‘Holy crap, this place is fast!'” Logano exclaimed. “It’s probably the most fun track to go around by yourself. Maybe one of the most frustrating tracks with other people out there. But it’s a lot of fun by yourself.”

Editor’s Notes

Nathan Solomon contributed to this article directly on-site from Dover Motor Speedway in Dover, Delaware.

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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