As the Big-3 claimed most the race wins in 2018; Team Penske had a different strategy in the works with Joey Logano, a strategy that started in May
Todd Gordon: “We didn’t have all the win stickers sitting down the c-post. But, we had speed.”
In the closes races of the Playoffs, Joey Logano stepped up the mic and declared himself the favorite. That took many by surprise.
Logano didn’t have the results for a large chunk of the season. As, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick each broke away and grabbed all the wins in bulk, Todd Gordon was executing the start of a playoff plan.
Joey Logano came in hot at the exact right time. But, there’s a specific reason for all that…
“A couple things happened this year. If you go back to last year at Homestead. We ran in the top-5 all day. I think it was the first step of what we needed to focus on to make 2018 a successful year.”
“We took that. We came off with speed to start the year. That win at Talladega put us in an opportunity where we were pretty much guaranteed through. The way the wins had stacked up for a couple drivers. You knew that a win was going to get you there.”
That win on April 29th opened a door of opportunity. Gordon and Team Penske used the NASCAR season format to their advantage.
For the next 11 races, Joey Logano finished outside the top-5. Other than that streak, Logano didn’t go more than 3 races without a top-5 finish, all season.
They were slow. But, there was a purpose to it. Gordon and Team Penske were up to something…
“We took the summer to really look at different avenues of how we make our cars handle. Given the struggles that we had in 2017, we needed to find a different path.”
“We took the summer after the win to try and understand what works for our race cars. At times, you wander on the wrong path. But, race by race, we worked on what we could.”
“When it came playoff time. We focused back on, ‘Hey! What have we learned and what do we need to do to be successful through the playoffs?’ ”
“About the 1st of August we got back on that path. We took the time to learn what we could.”
Joey Logano finished top-5 in 8 of the 13 races since the August race at Bristol. Two of those were race wins at Martinsville Speedway and the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“We didn’t have the playoff points that some of the Big 3 did. We didn’t have all the win stickers sitting down the c-post. But, we had speed. With the struggles last year, we took the opportunity to learn more this year.”
“Not necessarily race for wins as much as race the knowledge. So, that we could put ourselves in a position to lead into the playoffs.”
That outsmarted everyone, snuck up and stole the whole damn show. Joey Logano claimed the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series championship on Sunday with the win at Homestead-Miami Speedway.