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Here's What Joey Logano Had To Say About Penske Teammate Ryan Blaney's Cup Series Title
The two-time title winner is proud of his Ford teammate, but he’s using No. 12’s win to fuel his own aspirations in 2024.
For former reigning champion Joey Logano, the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season was one to forget. A precipitous fall from a rank of one to 12 on the leaderboard was the result of a conspicuous lack of speed that plagued the driver all year. Compared to the previous year, where he was victorious four times, he notched only one victory in 2023. And, as evidence of his diminished pace, he plunged form an overall 819 laps led to a worrisome 308.
“Not as good as we needed to be,” Logano stated to NASCAR in September. “Inconsistent. Not fast enough, not scoring stage points. When you don’t score stage points, that just says you’re not fast enough. ... If this was a few years ago, and it wasn’t stage racing, we would be sitting in a lot better shape because we figure out a way to close races. But we don’t score the points during the race because we’re just not fast enough.”
Still, as disappointing as the numbers are, they fail to capture the most disheartening element of the Ford wheelman’s season: the end of it.
As painful as the road was to get there — after Corey LaJoie spun sideways in Lap 262 of the Bass Pro Shops Bristol Night Race and careened into Logano — Team Penske’s driver was forced to officially exit the competition, chalking up a 34th-place finish that not only officially dethroned him, but also unceremoniously crowned him the first reigning champion to be eliminated in the opening round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
But if the 33-year-old two-time champ had to sit back and watch someone steal his thunder — as he demonstrated at the NASCAR Awards at Music City Center last month in Nashville, Tennessee — he was glad to have it be by his partner in crime at Team Penske, fellow Ford Mustang wheelman and the latest inductee into NASCAR’s championship-winning elite fraternity, Ryan Blaney.
What did Joey Logano say to Ryan Blaney about next year's Cup Series championship?
In toasting his teammate at the awards event, according to NASCAR, Logano made sure to drop a subtle, cheeky reminder to Blaney that next year could be different.
“We’ll go for three in a row next year,” noted Logano of the Cup Series championship, revving up the crowd at the annual event. “It’s my turn, so enjoy it. My turn’s next year.”
While anyone who knows Logano or watched him in action understands that he’s dead serious when he says that, as a teammate, Logano is about as supportive as they come.
What did Joey Logano say about Ryan Blaney's 2023 Cup Series championship win?
“We’ve all seen the amount of speed that he’s had his whole career, like just raw speed,” Logano said of Blaney. “The kid’s quick as can be. But it seemed like it took a minute for the race-crafting to meet up to the talent that he has. And really, I think in the last seven weeks of what he was able to put together was exceptional — really, really good. And he put them both together, and now I’ll tell you, he’s gonna be tough to beat for a long time, now that he’s got confidence on his side, he’s done it already. He’s gonna be tough for a long time.”
For Logano, as good as a racer as Blaney has blossomed into, cultivating a championship-winning team truly begins at the top, with team owner Roger Penske and who he chooses to work with.
“It’s just the type of people we are, honestly, I think is what it is,” Logano said. “You put a bunch of winners around each other, you’re gonna win. I said it last year in my speeches, you can’t fly like an eagle when you’re working with a bunch of turkeys, and there’s a lot of eagles that work in that building. If you believe in the saying, ‘You are who you hang out with,’ you’re going to become that way, too. That’s what culture is, right? That’s what we’ve built around there.”
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While Logano appears to have lofty expectations for a third title run in 2024, his anemic run in the postseason this year have left some wounds that have yet to heal.
“I’m not sure I’m over it yet," Logano said, according to NASCAR. “That might be the good thing about it.”
That said, Logano propping up his teammate Blaney in celebrating his first win during the awards event is the official spark to ignite his engine.
“A little more angry. I mean, honestly, that’s what the banquet does to you,” Logano continued. “If you’re not the 12 team, nobody else wants to be here. I mean, this is what it’s about. It’s about the champion. It should be about the champion when you come to the banquets.”
“They should be celebrated, but I can tell you right now, when you sit down there and you watch someone else be celebrated, it’s the most motivating thing you can ever ask for,” he added. “So, you come here and you leave a little mad, but motivated to go up there and do something better.”