NASCAR: Unfortunate Joey Logano trend continues at Daytona

Joey Logano, Team Penske, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, Team Penske, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Joey Logano has been the penultimate leader in three straight NASCAR Cup Series races, including the first two on the 2021 schedule.

If the Daytona 500 were 199 laps instead of 200 and if the Daytona International Speedway road course race were 68.9 laps instead of 70, Joey Logano would be two for two to start the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Unfortunately, the driver of the #22 Team Penske Ford is still winless this year.

For the third consecutive race going back to last year’s season finale at Phoenix Raceway, he was the penultimate leader, with the driver who passed him in the closing laps going on to win the race. The last two times, that winner has been a first-time winner.

The winners of those three races ended up being Chase Elliott, Michael McDowell and Christopher Bell.

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In last year’s season finale at Phoenix Raceway, Logano was the leader of the race with 51 of the 312 laps remaining after pitting one lap earlier than Elliott to get on new tires quicker. That allowed him to jump ahead of the driver of the #9 Chevrolet, but Elliott quickly hunted him down to take back the lead.

With 43 laps remaining, Elliott found himself back in front of the pack, and he never looked back en route to securing his first title. Logano finished in third place, losing second to teammate Brad Keselowski in the closing laps.

In this year’s season-opening Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway oval, Logano was the leader after Ford nailed their final pit sequence while Toyota completely botched theirs, resulting in Denny Hamlin losing the lead which he had enjoyed for much of the race. Logano inherited the lead with 26 laps to go.

But on the final lap, contact between his #22 Ford and Keselowski’s #2 Ford led to a massive accident, which allowed McDowell to take the lead. When the caution flag flew, it was ruled that the driver of the #34 Ford was the race leader and thus the winner, marking his first career win in 358 starts. Logano was officially scored in 12th.

Most recently, after a controversial caution flag for “rain”, Logano inherited the lead at the Daytona International Speedway road course when many other drivers came into the pits with 13 laps remaining.

He led 10 of the next 11 laps, including the six leading up to the race’s penultimate lap. But late in that lap, he was passed by Bell, who pulled away to secure his first career victory in 38 starts.

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Will this trend continue at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, February 28? The Dixie Vodka 400 is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.