NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Joey Logano has a simple goal for the future even as he celebrates his 2022 NASCAR Cup championship.
Add yet another.
Logano joined Kyle Busch this season as the only active NASCAR drivers with multiple Cup Series titles, adding to the first Cup championship he won in 2018. Being the only active driver with three Cup titles would still be more agreable.
“That’s where my head is right, ‘Let’s get another one,'” Logano said Thursday before being celebrated at NASCAR’s annual awards show.
“It’s definitely something special. Winning championships is hard in professional sports, isn’t it? It’s so hard to find and so hard to do, and it all has to fall into place at the right time,” he continued. “It’s not just the driver, but it’s the team, the cars. Everything has to click at the right time to be able to do that.
Logano, at 32, was already the oldest of the four drivers in the championship final. Credit or blame the new Next Gen car for the evening competition where the Cup Series had 19 different winners, with five rookies and two drivers making their first appearance in the championship race.
Logano won his second NASCAR championship by finishing first in a win-win finale at Phoenix Raceway, giving Team Penske the Cup and IndyCar titles in the same season for the first time in 31 tries.
Roger Penske, owner of Logano’s #22 Ford, knows how hungry Logano is to win a third title. He is part of a roster that includes Ryan Blaney and Austin Cindric, who both made the playoffs with Team Penske, and Harrison Burton in a car affiliated with Wood Brothers Racing.
“We have the same team, so we should,” Penske said. “We should be able to compete now. Lots of great talent out there today. New talent, young talent. Teams and cars have brought us closer together. But I think we’re someone you’ll have to beat in 23.”
The immediate celebration of his second Cup championship was somewhat muted for Logano with the death of Joe Gibbs Racing vice-president Coy Gibbs hours before the season finale. Logano started his career at JGR, where he spent four Cup seasons.
Coming to the NASCAR awards in Nashville gave Logano the time and space to really enjoy his final championship.
He posed with the trophy on a bridge over the Cumberland River and suggested a visit to the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, where Logano visited two-time running champion Derrick Henry and swapped his helmet for a jersey n ° 22 Henry. He was also able to spend time at the team’s training ground.
Logano said he loves getting tips and insights on how other people at the top of their sport are working to stay there because he’s learned that no one, even in the same sport, sees or approaches things the same way.
“So it’s good to learn all of that for sure,” Logano said.
Logano also knows he is among NASCAR’s oldest current drivers and wants to become more of a leader and help grow the sport. He’s still young enough to identify with all the young drivers coming into NASCAR, but old enough to remember what it was like over a decade ago.
“I think it’s a huge responsibility for all of us as an industry to care about the next generation of our sport,” Logano said.
Kevin Harvick, the 2014 Cup champion, said Logano doesn’t recognize himself enough already to be a leader in the sport.
“He has a voice that he uses and participates in many activities and things necessary to help us progress,” said Harvick, the 2014 champion who once feuded with Logano. “It’s been an interesting year to figure out where things are, and I’m also guilty of that and not participating in doing the things that we need to do.”
As Logano prepares to chase his third championship, Busch wore his two big championship rings as the NASCAR awards provide the perfect opportunity to display what he’s earned. Busch pointed out that he couldn’t wear them when riding in a race car.
“I might as well wear them when we get to functions where you can show people what they’re looking for anyway,” Busch said.
Busch has already emptied his Joe Gibbs Racing gear after 15 years as he moves to Richard Childress Racing for the upcoming season. He admitted that showing the spoils of victory could provide motivation that will work against him in the future.
“You know we would love to have more,” Busch said.
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