NASCAR: Joey Logano Aims to Catch Up to “Really Good” Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Joe Gibbs Racing Cars

Published 02/22/2021, 8:10 AM EST
Feb 21, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


Joey Logano was in touching distance of his first win of the 2021 season before young Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell passed him on the final lap to record his first Cup win. In the second week running, Logano came close to a win at Daytona but just could not seal the deal.

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While Logano looks like one of the cars to beat this season, he feels he still has some gains to make to be the best car out there. The 2018 NASCAR Cup champ admitted he is still a step behind the Joe Gibbs Racing cars in terms of speed, especially on the road courses.

The Team Penske star feels Chase Elliott is ahead of everyone else in that aspect, including the JGR cars. He also found Kyle Larson and the No. 5 team “really good.”

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Feb 21, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliot (9) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Joey Logano impressed by the pace of Elliott, Larson, and JGR cars

“One more step to go to be as good as the Gibbs cars on the long haul. The 9, and even the 5 was really good today, too. There’s five or six cars that are a step better. We’ll figure it out,” Logano said after his second-place finish on Sunday.

Having said that, he is confident of his and the No. 22 team’s ability to make great progress on that front, very soon. “We’re the best in the business as well, so we’re going to figure it out. We’re inching up on it as I speak,” he added.

Coming so close to a win again but just falling short, ‘stings’ for Logano. However, he appreciated the efforts of 26-year-old Bell, and further highlighted the improvements made by the No. 20 and his JGR teammates Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin (third place finish on Sunday), and Martin Truex Jr.

Feb 21, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Christopher Bell (20) leads NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Team Penske car explains where he needs to make gains

Logano also explained where his team has improved and where they need to improve further.

“They (Bell) had a great car. They were able to hang with the 9. Seems like the Gibbs cars definitely made a substantial gain on keeping up with the 9,” Logano expressed.

“I feel like we’ve made a gain as well, but we’re still a step behind on the long runs. Short run speeds are very competitive, our braking is competitive. We just fall off on tires too hard. Just got to figure that out,” he explained further.

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Once he does figure it out, expect Logano to get even stronger results, given his additional experience compared to most other drivers. All in all, the rest of the 2021 NASCAR season promises to be a highly competitive one.

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Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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