• Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Countdown to the Clash: Can the No. 22 of Logano do it in 23?

ByBrenden Martin

Jan 14, 2023
Joey Logano LA Clash

Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season brought with it the most parity the sport has seen with an all-time tying 19 different winners across 36 different races. Of course, there was no more fitting end to the season than when Team Penske No. 22 driver Joey Logano won his second career cup title to match his first one in 2018.

Yes, the No. 22 did it in 2022. He bookended the season with wins at the inaugural Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum last February and Phoenix Raceway for Championship Weekend. With 22 days before the second annual Clash at the Coliseum, Logano will look to defend both his championship and his title as the Coliseum Conqueror.

Logano found ways to win at tracks the Cup Series was not used to. On top of the Clash in LA, Logano also won NASCAR’s foray to race at World Wide Technology Raceway on Sundays taking his second of four wins last season.

Going back to 2021, Logano won the first race at Bristol Dirt. It was the first NASCAR dirt race since 1971.

Looking at the 2023 schedule, Logano has more opportunities to win at places NASCAR has never been to before, such as the Chicago Street Course on Sunday, July 2. NASCAR is also returning to North Wilkesboro Speedway for the NASCAR All-Star Race on Sunday, May 21.

While the All-Star Race does not count toward the regular season. Winning it is still a grand achievement. Logano finished fourth in the All-Star Race last season at Texas Motor Speedway.

Logano’s success is not all without controversy though, his first regular season win in 2022 was met with much criticism. With two laps to go in the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway, Logano punted Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 driver William Byron into the wall to take the lead and the win.

Logano said after the race the move was in retaliation to Byron running him to the wall some laps before. The move showed what Logano is willing to do to win at NASCAR’s highest level. His 31 career Cup Series wins are 28th most all-time.

His claim to fame in 2022 came in part due to his off-the-track presence. NASCAR and USA Network introduced a docuseries called “Race for the Championship” during the season, showcasing the lifestyles, hobbies and hardships drivers live through as they balance caring for their families and spending countless hours preparing for races each week.

Logano was heavily featured in the debut episode last September. Easily the most memorable moment of the series was when Logano was on a phone call with his wife, Brittany, over his car speakers while driving. The screen next to the front seat showed the contact name for his wife as “My hot ass wife.”The internet went ablaze with memes surrounding the moment, and it was one Logano ran with even after he won at Phoenix.

Logano’s appearance in the Championship 4 last season was the fifth of his career. While other drivers may have been content with just making the final four, Logano said that he and his team have experienced the heartbreak of losing a chance for a title. Winning the title two out of five times when making the Championship 4 is a solid win percentage.

Logano and Team Penske are in a great position to win it again. No driver has won back-to-back championships in the Cup Series since Jimmie Johnson won five in a row from 2006-2010. He went on to win two more after that.

Maybe Johnson’s return to NASCAR as an owner/driver can push Logano to reach that same championship pedigree. That begs the question: Can the No. 22 do it in 23?