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NASCAR Cup Phoenix II

Logano: Championship 4 appearance "isn’t enough for us"

A confident Joey Logano says he is “ready to go to battle” for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series championship and has never felt more prepared.

Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang

Logano’s victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16 locked himself and his No. 22 Team Penske Ford into the Championship 4, giving them two weeks to focus on the title race without having to worry about weekly performance.

It’s a similar scenario as Logano experienced in his first championship season in 2018, when he won the first race of the semifinal round – then at Martinsville – and had two weeks to prepare for the finale at Homestead, Fla.

While this is the fourth time in seven years Logano has advanced to the title race, just making it is no longer considered the big prize.

“I feel like our team is in a great spot for a lot of reasons. For one, we’re not happy to be here. We’re not just happy to be in the Championship 4. This isn’t enough for us,” he said Thursday during Championship 4 Media Day at the Phoenix Convention Center.

“I think with that mentality and the three weeks we’ve had since Vegas, to really focus in here, it’s going to give us a huge advantage to not only have a good practice plan and set our car up, but also execute this race correctly on top of the experience that we got.

“I’ve never felt more solid in this position than I do right now. With that said, I’m ready to go racing, ready to get out there. We’re ready to go to battle.”

The veteran driver of the group

At 32, Logano is the oldest of the four Championship 4 drivers. He is already in his 14th fulltime season in the Cup Series and by far the most experienced – in general and in title races.

Logano considers that a big advantage even with the introduction of the Next Gen car this year, which put teams on a more level playing field.

“Experience is still rewarded in a lot of things, especially on a weekend like this. There’s still a reward there,” he said. “But, I mean, at the end of the year I had to unlearn a lot. If you’re going to be a rookie, this is the year to be a rookie because we’re all starting at zero for the most part.

“I knew how the sport is run, the ins-and-outs, that type of thing, that experience is still there. But the actual on-track racing was, like, start all over because what happened in the past, the things that I was so certain was going to happen, it went the opposite.”

He still believes there is little to match the experience going through the winner-takes-all championship race.

“You just know what’s coming around the corner next. You know how (Media Day) goes. You know how the week before this is, then the weekend itself, race day,” he said. “Race day is just chaotic the whole time.

“It’s not just another race. It’s not that. Everyone likes to say that. Everyone comes to championship Media Day, says, ‘It’s just another race, just act like it’s another race.’ That's a bunch of BS.

“It’s not just another race. It’s bigger than any race you’ve ever been in, and it changes the way you approach it, for sure.”

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