Joey Logano: These are the times that test team, what it’s made of

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If it seems coincidence that Joey Logano hasn’t been smiling as much as he usually does, well, you wouldn’t be smiling much after what Logano’s been going through of late.

Since winning at Richmond on April 30 — a race whose outcome was encumbered due to discovery of a post-race inspection violation — Logano has gone through the toughest period of his 10 years in NASCAR Cup racing.

In the 13 races since Richmond, he’s finished 21st or worst nine times, including Sunday’s 24th-place finish at Watkins Glen International.

With just four races remaining to make the playoffs, Logano sits one spot out of the playoffs. Since it’s uncertain whether he can jump up into the 16-driver playoffs solely on points, Logano is essentially in an all-or-nothing situation.

Namely, if he hopes to make the playoffs, he now has just four races left to do so: Michigan this coming Sunday, Bristol, Darlington and the final playoff qualifying race, at Richmond.

After Sunday’s race, Logano spoke to NBCSN about how the next four races will not only test himself and his team, but will also tell the tale of what they’re truly made of and how they all respond.

“We’ve got to try and win these next two races, we’ve got to try and get something,” Logano said. “It’s tough. We’ve got to keep pushing. It’s not the easiest moments of our career, for sure, but it shows what you’re made out of, how you handle these situations. We’re going to keep fighting and go down swinging, if nothing else. We’re going to go for the wins.”

NOTE: Logano will appear on Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, live from the NASCAR Hall of Fame.