CREW CHIEF: Paul Wolfe
TEAM: Team Penske
POINTS: Eighth in NASCAR Cup Series
WINS: One (Bristol Dirt)
LAPS LED: 453
TOP 5s: 10
TOP 10s: 19
QUALIFIED FIRST: Once (Martinsville I)
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Entering the NASCAR Cup Series’ first race on dirt since 1970, many pointed to dirt-track dynamos like Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell as the favorites. But it was Joey Logano, a driver with much less experience racing on dirt, that earned the historic win at Bristol Motor Speedway in overtime.
That victory highlighted a solid first half of the season for Logano. Through the first 19 races, he netted seven top-five finishes (including the Bristol dirt win and runner-ups at the Daytona road course and Phoenix) and 12 top-10 finishes with just a single DNF (a crash at Talladega).
WHAT WENT WRONG: Logano’s overall results took a noticeable step back, and not just compared to last year. While he had a top-five average running position (10.7, fifth-best in Cup), his totals in wins, top-five finishes, top-10 finishes, laps led and average finish (12.6) were all his worst since 2017 – the only season where he missed the playoffs in the current format.
Not helping matters: A poor end to the regular season, where Logano suffered two DNFs and finished no better than 22nd over the final four races. More consistent results helped Logano advance through the first two playoff rounds, but it also masked an inability to run up front. During those first six post-season races, he only led a total of 13 laps.
The bottom finally fell out in the Round of 8 opener at Texas Motor Speedway. A late-race engine failure not only saddled Logano with a 30th-place finish but also left him 43 points below the cutline to advance to the Championship 4. It was too big a deficit to overcome over the next two races.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2022: Since the NASCAR playoffs debuted its current format in 2014, Logano has reached the Championship 4 in each even-numbered year (winning it all in 2018). He’ll look to continue that trend and cement himself atop of Team Penske’s pecking order after Brad Keselowski’s departure to RFK Racing.