Logano praises "out of control cars" with Michigan rules package

If it were up to Joey Logano, NASCAR would implement the 2017 rules package ASAP.

Logano praises "out of control cars" with Michigan rules package
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Race winner Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Race winner Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford, Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, heads to the garage after a wreck
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota crash
Race action
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Michigan atmosphere
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Race action
Race winner Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford

He’s 2-2 while NASCAR has experimented with the lower downforce configuration in the All-Star Race and at Michigan Speedway. 

It should be a challenge. It should be on the edge. It shouldn't be easy, and at this level it definitely isn’t.

Joey Logano

Yes, Logano had an early wake up call in the FireKeepers Casino 400 — even before he completed a full lap on Sunday. But he clearly doesn’t mind driving a car that proved to be a handful for some competitors at the two-mile track. 

“I went down into Turn 1 the first lap, and I thought I was King Kong,” Logano said. “I drove down in there and about crashed. That didn't work out so well. So I learned a lot from that one. You know, it's just the cars are out of control. 

“No doubt, they are out of control crazy, and it makes it a lot of fun, but you've got to think if you're in that pack a little bit, you're going faster down the straightaways, you're getting a huge draft when cars are side‑by‑side in front of you, and you have no downforce at all, and especially when you're three wide and your angles are off going into the corner and you're trying to clear them, everyone is racing hard."  

Incidents more likely with new package

Despite leading 138 of 200 laps, Logano acknowledged it was easy to make mistakes from behind the wheel. There were nine cautions throughout the race, several triggered by side-by-side racing or when things went awry as drivers ran three-wide. 

“It's a recipe for disaster for sure, but I haven't re‑watched it and haven't seen much, but I thought the race was I think pretty good,” Logano said. “There was a lot of natural cautions out there and a lot of things that happened, and I think that's a good sign. Without watching it, I know it's better than the package we ran here last time, so I'm excited about that.

“There's plenty of times that I went down into a corner and drove in a little bit too hard and chased it up the racetrack and had to work inside the car and really had to manage your tires and which tires you're using and all that. There was more falloff than what there's been here in the past, so I think all that together is good, is directionally correct for racing.”

Having to let off

Logano’s crew chief Todd Gordon agrees. Although Gordon did not receive a breakdown on lap times throughout the race, he acknowledged the differential between the rate of speed the cars ran from the entrance of the turns to the apex of the corners resulted in less on-throttle time and provided teams the opportunity to pass.

“I would say that given lap time and what we saw in practice that we did lose center corner speed, picked up on the straightaway speed a little bit,” Gordon said. “I know in talking to Joey after practice, definitely felt the speed loss, the transition.  

“I think when I was re‑watching the broadcast, we saw like 40 miles an hour from top speed to mid‑corner minimum speed deviation, which is huge compared to what we've been in the past. Definitely made the guys lift a lot, which I think is good for racing.”

Certainly, the style of racing was tailor made for Logano. While there was never a question of if he would win a race, pundits and Logano himself were surprised it took 15 races to reach Victory Lane. 

Among drivers currently in the Chase Zone, only Denny Hamlin (6.4) enjoys a better qualifying effort than Logano’s 8.1. Logano has led laps in 10 of 15 races. Until Sunday, he just didn’t have a win for his efforts. Now, that the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil team has a victory to its credit, Logano considers his Team Penske crew even more of a threat.

“It felt really good to pull our car into victory lane, get that win,” Logano said. “It's nice to be able to know that we're locked into the Chase and we can race even harder than we do now.”

The next test for the 2017 rules package

Logano will be one of 14 drivers participating in a two-day test at Kentucky Speedway on Monday and Tuesday to continue work on the 2017 package. With a newly paved surface and increased banking from 13 to 17-degrees in Turns 1 and 2, NASCAR will have a better understanding what to expect when the Sprint Cup Series returns to the 1.5-mile track in July. 

For Logano, he’s just happy for more seat time in the new car. When asked why he and other drivers savored the wild ride he replied with a laugh, “I don't know how smart we are.”

“I think that thrill, the adrenaline that you get by controlling something that's out of control,” Logano added. “A lot of times being right on that edge of backing it in the fence when we seen it happening in qualifying and you're just right on that edge. 

“I remember after qualifying I was walking into the media center here and I was signing an autograph and my hand was shaking. I couldn't even write my name. That's cool. That's how on edge you have to be to go fast, and it was like that for 400 miles today, you know, that you're just right on that ragged edge, and that's awesome.  

“I don't want to drive slow. That ain't no fun. That's the sport part of this. It should be a challenge. It should be on the edge. It shouldn't be easy, and at this level it definitely isn’t."

shares
comments
New NASCAR aero rules at Michigan a "step in the right direction"

Previous article

New NASCAR aero rules at Michigan a "step in the right direction"

Next article

Cup teams test 2017 rules package on newly reconfigured Kentucky Speedway

Cup teams test 2017 rules package on newly reconfigured Kentucky Speedway
Load comments
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Prime

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organization - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR Cup
Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021