Much of the talk heading into the second round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs is around Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin. However, if there’s one driver who probably might fancy his chances at Las Vegas this weekend, it’s Joey Logano.
The No. 22 Team Penske driver won the only race that was run at the venue so far this year. Back in February, Logano won the second race of the season, ahead of Matt DiBenedetto and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
While the momentum going into Sunday’s race is with Harvick or Busch, there’s one aspect where Logano has an advantage over his competitors. It even helped him win the race in February.
Leading NASCAR reporter and analyst David Smith explains Joey Logano’s prowess on restarts. Smith feels that if the race sees more short runs and restarts on Sunday, Logano could leave the rest behind.
“Dating back to when he drove with Todd Gordon as the Crew Chief, they seemed to have mile-and-a-half tracks dead to rights. That manifests at Las Vegas for Joey Logano,” Smith said on the ‘Positive Regression’ podcast.
“That restarting prowess. Let’s not forget, that race this spring was decided, potentially broken because of a restart. Joey Logano has perenially been one of the best non-preferred groove restarters in recent seasons.
“He is the second preferred groove restarter just in terms of positional gain. So if this is a game of short runs, that could end up preferring this 22 team,” he explained.
Logano started the Playoffs very strongly. He registered third-place finishes at both Darlington and the Richmond Raceway.
He was then involved in a tangle with Busch at the Bristol Motor Speedway, before finishing 11th. The two men were also involved in a war of words post the race.
Logano offered fans a sneak peek into his competitive side when he said that he does not prefer having friends on the racetrack and views all the drivers as competitors.
The 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Champion, though a strong contender, is not one of the title favorites this season. Approaching the business end of the Playoffs, Logano has his chance to repeat his 2018 heroics.