Joey Logano is on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time in his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career since he joined Team Penske in 2013. Everything from an encumbered victory at Richmond earlier this year to three DNFs since that race in Richmond has faced the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil team and put Logano in a must-win situation on Saturday night in the Federated Auto Parts 400.
It’s not the first time that Logano has found himself in this situation, but he’ll need to pull another miracle victory in order to join Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski and Team Penske affiliated driver Ryan Blaney in the playoffs. Logano has been able to get these wins before in the past, most recently at Phoenix last year that sent him into the final four.
What may plague Logano going into the weekend’s festivities at Richmond Raceway is a severe lack of momentum. In the last five races, he has a best finish of 13th at Bristol Motor Speedway last month. In fact, Logano only has two top-20 finishes in those last five races.
Logano set high numbers at this time last year, but he was also already in the playoffs where the strong runs weren’t absolutely necessary or as important as they are today. This season the team has been lacking in the speed department and just seemingly caught bad luck at bad times.
While he’s in a must-win situation, there may be no better track for Logano to score a win at than Richmond, so long as it doesn’t get deemed encumbered.