If you've been wondering when Joey Logano was going to fulfill all of that Sliced Bread potential, you're not still wondering, are you?
Logano got his third win of the season – and the sixth of his career – at Bristol Saturday night, beating teammate Brad Keselowski to the finish line.
When Logano climbed from his car, he was asked about what the win meant for the Chase. His response was immediate and simple. "Win the thing."
You're not going to be able to put a convincing case together against him.
Sure, there's Jimmie Johnson. And Jeff Gordon. And Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kevin Harvick. Oh, and let's not forget Keselowski, who has three wins too. But Logano is a bonafide championship contender this year.
There's no guarantee he'll make the final four drivers at Homestead. NASCAR has set this whole thing up purposefully as a crapshoot. But after the inconsistency of the beginning of the season, Logano has been one of the best drivers on the circuit.
The Bristol win was Logano's fifth straight top-six finish. It's a streak that's allowed him to climb up to fourth in the points standings. Plus, his wins have been at Texas, Richmond and Bristol. The latter two are short tracks, there's only one in the Chase (Martinsville), but the other is a 1.5 mile track in the Chase. And there are four additional 1.5 mile tracks in the Chase too.
Logano had a good car for most of the night. He didn't venture out of the top 10 and once his car got tuned to where he was able to cut to the inside of drivers off the corner it was game over. Bristol's one groove was near the top. Anyone who was able to cut towards the bottom with speed had an advantage. Over the last 75 laps Logano had that advantage and fresh tires. Once he got around Matt Kenseth for the lead, the race was over.
Sure, you can argue that Logano is peaking too early. That there's no way he can maintain this form throughout the Chase or that he's simply on the run of his life at the moment. The argument could be true. But Logano wasn't anointed as one of the next big Sprint Cup Series stars for no reason. And he's still 24. It could be the start of a special run. We simply don't know.
But what we do know is that there are five drivers with three wins this season, meaning they all could start the Chase tied for the points lead. Logano is one of them. This is setting up to be a wide open Chase and it's not because of the format.
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