Joey Logano, team thinking ‘outside of the box’ to catch Big 3

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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Joey Logano knows that he and his team need to be creative with their setups because he admits they won’t catch Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.if we don’t try something different.”

It is with that attitude Logano can look back on the 11 races since his Talladega victory and not be as concerned that he’s been the top-finishing Team Penske driver only twice during that stretch.

While Logano says his team hasn’t given up on winning, he admits they are trying different things to be better when the playoffs begin next month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“A majority of the time when you try something it doesn’t work, but maybe one out of 10 things you try does work and you’re able to make some gains,” Logano said Friday at Watkins Glen International. “I think just the mentality and the thought process has changed a little bit on how can we get faster for when we get to the playoffs because the speed that we have right now is not enough to win the championship right now. We have to get better, no doubt. 

“The only way I know how to get better is you have to try new things. You have to be willing to change as a driver, as a team with the setups, the way we build cars and the thought process.”

Busch, Harvick and Truex have combined to win 16 of the season’s 21 races, including the last three in a row. Logano, who is fourth in the points, has had mixed results with six top-10 finishes in the 11 races since his Talladega win. His best finish during that stretch is third at Kansas, the only top-five he’s had during that period.

Logano admits that with how much Busch, Harvick and Truex have separated themselves from the field, it has made Logano and his team consider more radical changes during this stretch.

“You have to think outside of the box and you have to use everything you have right now,” he said. “There’s not really any holding back. What you have for new pieces and parts and anytime you develop anything, it has to get on the car as quick as possible because we have to catch them. 

“I’m sure, you hope they don’t have more in the tank, but I’m pretty sure they do. If they’re as fast as they are now, I’m sure they have a little more left when it comes to playoff time, so we have to work really hard to keep trying to find this.”

Logano admits there’s enough data to see what Harvick is doing, but duplicating what Harvick can do is not as easy.

“We have all the data these days,” Logano said. “ ‘Oh, he’s doing this different as a driver. He’s doing that different.’ His car is allowing him to do that, where I do that and I can’t. My car is not allowing me to do that. So it’s a little frustrating sometimes because you can see it and you’re like, ‘Oh, I just have to do that,’ but you can’t do it.’  So you know what you’ve got to get to. 

“I guess it gives you a good goal and a good baseline to try to get off of. He’s driving a Ford as well, so we know it’s possible, we just have to get to that point. It’s a lot of trial-and-error to get there.”

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