Logano: Darlington A “Missed Opportunity” Despite Strong Result

Joey Logano may not have swept the Darlington races in 2022, but a strong showing in Sunday’s race was enough to put him atop the championship standings.

In a race where many playoff drivers encountered misfortune, Logano (of Middletown, CT) did well to avoid trouble.

He of course still had his moments, including door-to-door contact with Christopher Bell exiting Turn 2. But overall, it was a good day for the No. 22 Team Penske Ford.

After starting from pole position, he led 64 laps en route to a fourth-place finish, collecting a handful of stage points as well.

“It’s a solid day but a missed opportunity is probably where I would put it,” said Logano, who won at Darlington earlier this year. “With so many others having trouble, every time you come to the Southern 500, especially in the playoffs, you’ve just got to survive and you get a solid finish. That’s what we were able to do, finish fourth after so many teams had issues.

However, Logano was not without his own setbacks, losing track position on multiple occasions during the grueling 500-mile event.

“We had plenty of our own issues, too,” he added. “We gave up track position a couple times and then we got caught with that caution and lost track position fairly late in the race, and then we just battled hard. It’s really hard to come up through the field here. It’s really hard to pass and was able to kind of battle back and get a top five out of it, which is OK.

Logano has never won the crown jewel event, having finished as high as second in the 2018 Southern 500.

“I mean, you’ve got to be happy about it because we scored a lot of points and that’s what it’s all about here in the first round, but also a missed opportunity to win the Southern 500 and I really want that one,” he confessed. “That one stings a little bit because I think we were better than the cars in front of us if we had the air. If we were able to stay towards the front we could tune to cleaner air, instead of going in the back and trying to tune to dirty air. We just set ourselves back too far.”

He now leads the standings after the first of three races in the Round of 16, but far more importantly, he is 38 points clear of the elimination zone.

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