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USA Today via Reuters

USA Today via Reuters

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Debate

Joey Logano's win: Pure skill or just plain luck? What do you think?

The spring of 2023. That was the last time Joey Logano won a NASCAR Cup Series race. That was until a long and chaotic race at Nashville Superspeedway ended with the Team Penske driver in victory lane once again. Logano held off Zane Smith and Tyler Reddick while his No. 22 Ford sputtered and nearly ran out of gas as he crossed the finish line. The difference between winning and finishing runner-up was just 0.068s, but all that matters is that Joey Logano got his first win of the season.

Having clinched his playoff spot with just seven races until the regular season ends, Joey Logano will take this victory with both hands. He succeeded where others failed, saving fuel under caution to create his luck at the Ally 400.

A win is a win

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Joey Logano deserved his victory at the Nashville Superspeedway; there is no question about it. The 34-year-old survived five overtimes, extending the race to 331 laps. He held off Tyler Reddick in the final lap, not once but twice, on Turn 1 and Turn 3, while finishing marginally faster than Zane Smith, who was hoping that the Team Penske driver would run out of fuel.

Using every last drop of gas, Logano stumbled across the finish line without stopping for fuel for 110 laps on the 1.33-mile concrete oval, a factor that turned the tide in his favor. Speaking in the pre-race press conference ahead of the race at Chicago Street Course, Logano was asked if he ever had a victory questioned or talked about as much as the one in Nashville.

The 34-year-old chuckled and responded, “Not really actually. That was probably the most. Honestly, I would say the same thing if it wasn’t me. But knowing that you know, hey we’re pretty straight up and we did a really good job at saving fuel under those cautions. You know, it all kind of played out just right, because we didn’t have the best track position in the beginning of the race so we saved some fuel there.”

USA Today via Reuters

Describing what worked for them despite 15 cautions, Logano further stated, “It just kind of worked from the engine side. We make pretty good mileage. Our bodies seem to be pretty good as far as a jack perspective. So it all kind of plays in favor of fuel mileage races. Not many fuel mileage races these days though. That’s kind of a rarity for sure. But if it does ever go that way it looks like we’re in pretty good shape.”

They are indeed! Joey Logano masterfully conserved his fuel at Nashville Superspeedway, taking advantage of cautions to coast around the track while drivers such as Denny Hamlin, who was leading the race, were forced to eventually pit after the third overtime after running out of gas. Logano somehow managed to stretch out his 85-lap fuel capacity tank to 110 laps, to finally win the race that lasted six hours and went 31 laps beyond its scheduled distance.

It was Joey Logano’s first victory since Atlanta in 2023, marking his 33rd NASCAR Cup Series win and ending his 49-race winless streak. With no wins this season and the team barely above the cutoff line in points to make it to the playoffs, Joey Logano and his crew chief Paul Wolfe took a big risk by not pitting during one of the overtimes.

Deciding to pit would have ensured Logano wouldn’t win the race, but it would also eliminate the risk of another DNF. However, the two decided to take a gamble, and it paid off big time! Victory at Nashville Superspeedway means Joey Logano joins his Team Penske teammates Ryan Blaney and Austin Cindric in the 2024 playoffs after the pair won their races last month. Logano will look to keep up the momentum at the Chicago Street Course, racing in both the Cup Series and Xfinity Series on the weekend.

Joey Logano to fill in for Hailie Deegan at Chicago Street Course

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Logano will be behind the No. 15 AMR Ford Mustang wheel at the Chicago Street Course. The 34-year-old hasn’t participated in the NASCAR Xfinity Series but has 30 career victories to his name in the series so far. He finished a respectable eighth in 2023, having started in ninth place in Chicago Street Course’s inaugural race. This time around, AM Racing is looking to get input from Joey Logano to improve their competitiveness after a lackluster season.

Speaking about racing in the Xfinity Series, Joey Logano said, “[AM Racing] called me last week and said, ‘Hey, we got the seat here for the No. 15 that seems like it’s going to open up, and do you want to drive it? I thought, well, I think so. Let me clear with my boss [Roger Penske] and make sure that’s okay and there’s no sponsor conflicts. Once I had all that cleared, it just seemed to make sense on really both ends. That’s what a good deal is when it works on both sides of the deal.”

AM Racing’s lack of success on track this season has been largely due to Hailie Deegan’s form. She hasn’t finished higher than 12th all season, despite competing in all 17 races, and has eight finishes outside the top 30. The NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie has failed to replicate her form from the Truck Series, where she spent three full seasons.

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During her time there, Deegan finished in the top 10 five times in 69 races and was as high as 17th in the standings. However, her performance will need to improve drastically if she wants to justify her place in the NXS next season.

Do you think Joey Logano could win his second race of the season in Chicago? Let us know in the comments!