For a NASCAR driver, there is just one other achievement that feels as big as winning the Cup Series championship, which is winning the Daytona 500. It is a dream trophy for any driver and not many have the privilege of calling themselves a Daytona 500 champion. Joey Logano is one driver who does.
He won the 2015 Daytona 500 and knows what it takes to win the coveted title. As the driver’s field gets closer to the 2021 edition at the Daytona International Speedway, the 2018 Cup Series champion spoke about the significance of the big race.
Logano expressed that while the ‘Championship 4’ race could be considered by many as the biggest race of a season, it is significant only for four drivers. Meanwhile, every driver at the Daytona 500 has a shot at winning it.
“The only race you would argue is bigger than that is the championship race, and that’s only for four cars. This is the biggest race for 40 cars out there,” Logano said about the Daytona 500.
‘Hard racing’ is a feature in NASCAR, and Logano feels drivers get extremely competitive during the Daytona 500. This does not come from just a few drivers, but as the race goes on, the ‘pushing and shoving’ is on another level, feels Logano.
He expects much more of the same at the 2021 Daytona 500, which is less than three weeks away.
“Everyone is out there racing extremely hard. Especially towards the end of the race, the pushing and shoving becomes very aggressive. That has been consistent over the years but as the rules package changes. Especially with this new spoiler on the back of it,” the Team Penske star added.
He feels that the aggression and the shoving towards the end of the race creates a “recipe for disaster,” in a way. As per Logano, the only thing a driver can do in these situations is ensure he is among the leaders towards the end of the race and in crucial situations.
The one factor which makes the Daytona 500 exactly like the championship race is that there is no importance for finishing anywhere below the top spot, even in second place, expressed Logano. He is certain that not many people remember who finished second even in last year’s Daytona 500.
“You try to collect points while you can during the stages…At the end of the race, it’s like the championship. No one remembers who finished second. No one remembers who finished second in the Daytona 500 last year. That’s just what this race is about,” the No. 2 car driver said.
Logano’s views are spot on, in that regard. Have the mindset and determination to go for the win, and nothing else eventually translates into a winning mentality. That is a key ingredient in winning the biggest sporting events.
With how the field is shaping up for the 2021 Daytona 500, it could very well be the most enthralling edition yet.