Joey Logano won the battle and the war; Did he think Truex would wreck him in the closing laps at Homestead?
Logano on the closing laps at Homestead as he drove away from the field: “I was running those laps there and my foot was shaking to put the throttle down.”
28-year-old, Joey Logano claimed his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title on Sunday. The championship comes in his tenth season of full time competition.
Logano has come a long way to get here. He came in the sport in 2008 with the nickname ‘sliced bread’ but failed to live up to those expectations. At the end of the 2013 season, Logano was without a ride at Joe Gibbs and made the move to Team Penske.
In 2015, Logano picked up 6 race wins. He was sweeping through a playoff run. However, an incident at Martinsville with Matt Kenseth, the guy who took over his former ride at Joe Gibbs Racing, ended up costing Logano a chance at the championship. He missed the championship round following his best season to date.
Logano returned in 2016, claiming 2nd in the championship. In 2017, Logano won at Richmond. A penalty took the team’s win and playoff birth away. Logano missed the playoffs entirely that year and finished 17th in the standings.
In 2018, he snuck into the picture out of nowhere. He think called his shot and went on to take the race win and the series championship as everybody was against him.
Joey Logano on the championship win
“It really felt a lot like my first win in Pocono. Once you get that first win your goal changes to winning a championship. I was running those laps there and my foot was shaking to put the throttle down,” Joey Logano said of the closing laps at Homestead-Miami Speedway after he had already driven away from the field.
With under 20 laps to go, a caution came following a spin with Keselowski and Suarez. That was exactly the caution that Logano needed.
“It wasn’t a long run race car. But, a 20 lap car for sure. What a motor. We ran that thing hot. She survived.”
Logano vs Truex: Martinsville
Joey Logano put the bumper to Martin Truex Jr for the race win on the final corner at Martinsville Speedway just a few weeks ago. After that race, Truex promised that Logano wouldn’t win the championship.
Truex after Martinsville: “He may have won the battle. But, he ain’t gonna win the damn war.”
Ironically, Logano and Truex were the ones battling it out for the race win and the championship in the closing laps at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It was aggressive with light door to door contact.
Truex was using every inch of the race track, crowding Logano in every opportunity to do so. It wasn’t malicious. He was just racing him really hard for a championship, same as Joey. But, an inch here or there could have brought drastic results for one or both drivers.
It didn’t. In the end, Logano went on to win both the battle and the war.
Truex vs Logano: The War concluded
Did it cross your mind that Truex might wreck you? Or did you guys work it out well enough that you didn’t think that was going to happen?
“Well, you never know. Honestly, as competitor, you have to keep that stuff in your mind,” Logano stated.
“Everyone says, put it out of your mind. But, you have to think about it. You have to make the right decisions and be smart about how we were going to race each other.”
“He raced me hard. He raced me the same way that I would have raced him. We ran each other hard. It was nothing dirty.”
Are we seeing a change in Logano?
“As a kid growing up, I was an aggressive racer and I was able to win a lot of races. I got humbled pretty quick. I guess humbled is the right word, I don’t know. Got beat up, I got pushed around a lot. I wasn’t fast, didn’t have no respect.”
“That I think beats up on your confidence pretty quickly. You have to dig back inside. Every sport is a mental sport. You have to figure out how to be strong again and dig out of holes.”
“The opportunity to make mistakes is one of the best things that could ever happen to you. I made a lot of mistake, in front of all of you. Things I shouldn’t say or whatever it was. But, there’s no regrets either. That’s formed me to the man I am today.”
“If it wasn’t for each and every one of those mistakes, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. I wouldn’t take any of them back. Even if we didn’t win today, I wouldn’t.”
Logano declared himself the favorite ahead of the championship race
Ahead of the race at ISM Raceway, Joey Logano declared himself the favorite. That appeared to come out of nowhere. His playoff competitors brushed it off and went about their day.
Now, in hindsight, Logano basically pointed his bat over the wall then smashed it out of the park.
“You can’t just be confident and then say it because then it’s just kinda BS. You have to believe it inside. I see my family sitting over there. They pump me up when I am feeling down, I’m still human. I’m the first one to look inside before I look outward,” Logano explained after claiming the championship.
“I’ll beat myself up pretty quick. But, I do know that we’ve been here before.”
“When you put yourself in high pressure situations, you find more out of yourself. That move at the end of the race shows that you refuse to lose. Because I know how much it hurts to finish 2nd.”
“We didn’t have a reason to not feel confident. But, we’ve executed under high pressure situations before. I had everyone around me, I just had to go do my job. The hard part was kinda over.”
“Plus, all you guys thought we were the underdog. I didn’t think that. But, most of you did. Maybe somebody won some money in Vegas.”