Joey Logano Racing To Keep A Solid Ride In The Sprint Cup Series

LOUDON, N.H. – Call it “A Tale of Two Scenarios”. The best of times and the worst of times for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano.

Joey Logano after winning recently at Pocono Raceway (Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

In his fourth year driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, Logano is having his best season thus far in the Sprint Cup Series. He is 14th in the standings with a victory and seven top-10 finishes after 18 events and is currently in a position to earn one of NASCAR’s two wildcard spots in the Chase for the Championship.

But he is also staring down a contract with Gibbs coming to an end after this season and speculation that his days driving for one of the most powerful and prominent organizations will be over soon.

There’s been much speculation that Logano’s seat with the team has already been filled. Many insiders in the sport expect it to be announced that Matt Kenseth will replace Logano in Gibbs’ No. 20 Sprint Cup Series car next year. Kenseth has already announced that he is leaving Roush Fenway Racing after this season.

“I think you feel pressure from both ends,” the 22-year old Logano said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as teams prepared for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series Lenox Industrial Tools 301. “You want to be able to focus 100 percent on what you’re doing — right now, trying to make the Chase. During the week, we’re trying to figure out what my future is going to be and I’m trying to prepare myself for the weekend and then when we get here, I put all that stuff in the back of my mind and then focus 100 percent on what I have going on this weekend in trying to win a race. I say it all the time — winning races will make all the other stuff come along a lot quicker. We’re getting there slowly but surely.”

Logano, a Middletown native, replaced Tony Stewart in the Gibbs Racing No. 20 car in 2009. He arrived at the Sprint Cup level much ballyhooed as one of the greatest young talents to come along in the sport in years.

But Logano has struggled to meet the lofty expectations thrust upon him. He became the youngest driver ever to win a Sprint Cup Series event when he strangely backed into a victory in the rain-shortened Lenox Industrial Tools 301 in 2009.

He went on to finish 20th in the standings in his rookie year and then 16th in 2010. Last year he was 24th in the standings, recording just six top-10 finishes in 36 races.

This season has come with it’s major highs and lows, but of late optimism has creeped in. Logano has four top-10 finishes in the last six events, including his second Sprint Cup Series victory, which came in the Pocono 400 at Pocono Speedway on June 10.

But could it be too little too late for Logano to control his destiny?

“I don’t know,” Logano said. “Obviously, racing itself on one side of it out there on the race track, you can only control so much of your destiny out there, but you can control it quite a bit. If you can control it on the racing side, you can control it on the other side too. As long as I keep doing what we’ve been doing on the race track with all the top-10s we’ve got and top-fives and with that win — being near that Chase spot makes you want it a little bit more. We have to keep working on that.”

Logano will start 16th in Sunday’s event at NHMS. As far as moving on from Joe Gibbs Racing, Logano didn’t hide the fact Friday that it could be a real possibility.

The recent suspension of A.J. Allmendinger by NASCAR for failing a drug test has opened the possibility of an open seat with Penske Racing next year at the Sprint Cup level.

Logano was asked Friday if he has made contact with the organization concerning next season.

“Obviously, right now we look at all our options out there in trying to do whatever we can do to have the best opportunity for my future,” Logano said. “That’s talking to as many people as we can and seeing what’s available.”

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