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Logano Enjoying Life On Easy Street – For Now

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, October 16 2015
There are 11 Chase drivers who would love to be Joey Logano this weekend. (RacinToday/HHP file photo Alan Marler)

There are 11 Chase drivers who would love to be Joey Logano this weekend. (RacinToday/HHP file photo Alan Marler)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Somebody may chase down and tackle somebody else in the garage area after this weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway. Somebody may give somebody else a savage shove to the chest in the motorhome lot late Sunday afternoon. But from the chase 15 logosound of it, Joey Logano won’t be doing any the tackling or shoving.

With a victory in the second round of the Chase playoffs – and, hence, advancement to the to the third round – already in the bag, Logano arrived at Kansas in a wonderful kickback mode.

Asked about life in the comfy lane as a result of winning the Round 2 opener at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend, Logano let go with that goofy boyish laugh Friday during an interview in the infield media center at Kansas.

“It makes us feel a lot better,” he said of his Round 2 security status. “I was sitting at the house on Monday night and I was watching Race Hub and I was like, ‘Man, this feels great.  Everyone
else is stressed out in this garage, except us right now.’  That’s something to be proud of and something that we need to take advantage of.  That stress will wear a lot of teams out as we’ve seen, so right now it’s an important time for us to take these next two weeks, enjoy them, but still go out there and try to win the race.”

Eleven other Chase drivers will have very little security this weekend and, especially, next weekend when the series moves to the bizarre Talladega Superspeedway plate track.

Seven of those will advance to Round 3, but then again four will not. Last year, in the first edition of the cut-down format of the playoffs, pressure in the cockpits built to the point where it was eventually released by varying acts of violence.

“There’s definitely a different feel,” Logano said of emotional levels when drivers are scrambling to advance up the playoff ladder. “For example, we’re racing like we did most of the season after we won Daytona.  We’re back to that mode.  It’s like, ‘Ahhh,’ that relief.  You go out there, you race, you race relaxed, you race you have a lot of fun, which a lot of times is an advantage.  That’s the way you need to race all the time, even in those stressful situations – whether you’re trying to set yourself up good for Talladega or in the next round trying to set yourself up to race for that championship.

“That pressure keeps building each round, especially this round.  I think Kyle was second in points last year going to Talladega and didn’t make it, so no one feels good.  After seeing that last year and seeing what can happen, no one feels good unless you win and that’s why we feel really good.  We have to take advantage of this opportunity we have right now.  Winning that race last weekend is the biggest win we could have gotten at this point of the season, and it can really help boost us in the next round by being ready and not having our tongues hanging out by the time we get through Talladega.  We’re gonna be rested and charged up and ready to rip, and I can’t say all teams are gonna be like that after going through what they’re about to go through here in the next couple of weeks.”

Logano is wearing a relaxed look for another reason this weekend – he’s been extremely comfortable at the 1.5-mile Kansas oval.

The Team Penske driver won here a year ago. Over the years, Logano has three top-fives and four top-10s in 14 starts.

Then there is the fact that Logano has three victories and an average finish of 7th in the last nine races.

Mix that kind success in with his circumstances vis a vis Round 3, and you get a big does of the goofy smiles.

“This is one of our best race tracks,” Logano said. Maybe our best race track in the last couple of years, so we want to keep that roll going here and try to get another win.  As far as where this puts us, we’re proud of that and we’re proud we don’t have to worry about Talladega and we’ll just keep pushing hard here.”

Pushing his car and pace, not his competitors in the garages, that is.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, October 16 2015
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