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Joey Logano is having another one of his roller-coaster seasons. In other words, this team is fast; Logano (above) has one pole this season (Las Vegas) and three top-fives. The problem is, the team lacks the consistency needed to win championships.
Consistency through one race at a time is what wins, and right now, that’s all the No. 22 team cares about—winning. Las Vegas showed us that Team Penske’s 1.5-mile setup is right on the money (teammate Keselowski won and Logano finished fourth). And last weekend, Logano proved that he can be consistent for 500 grueling laps at Martinsville.
Texas Motor Speedway is a much more fun place to race, and Logano, still very much in his 20s, is all about having some fun while he’s at the track. Sunday will likely be a very good day for him.
It’s been a tough week emotionally for the Johnson family. Johnson’s wife lost her brother in a freak skydiving accident at the beginning of the week.
Johnson has dealt with heavy emotions before while he’s been working at the race track. Maybe the circumstances have not been as close to him as this current situation is, but they were difficult. These are times when a team as strong and close-knit as the No. 48 team is can rally around a teammate who is dealing with adversity and come out on top.
Johnson, who has three wins here to his credit, would like nothing more than to be able to stand in Victory Lane on Sunday and dedicate a win to his late brother-in-law. This team will be very tough to beat on race day.
Edwards brings his stellar record of three wins and eight top-10s to TMS this weekend. He could easily be the driver to end the streak of new race winners each week to open the 2014 season.
Las Vegas was a good weekend for the No. 99 team, with Edwards starting 11th and finishing fifth. It appears that this Jimmy Fennig-led team has its 1.5-mile setup where it needs to be. A big plus—Edwards is good at taking care of his tires, a critical requirement at TMS.
Could we see another backflip on Sunday afternoon? Be sure to be watching the end of the Cup race.
This Team Penske driver has had two really bad weekends in a row. How is he ever to handle the frustration of running poorly and dealing with Kurt Busch?
The Busch deal isn’t going to be a problem. Keselowski knows Busch isn’t going to do anything at a fast track like TMS. However, this team needs to get down to business and deliver a solid outing.
The No. 2 team performed well at Las Vegas. Crew chief Paul Wolfe worked with his driver throughout the afternoon to give Keselowski a car he could take to Victory Lane. One should expect a similar performance from this squad again this weekend.
If Edwards doesn’t end the streak of a new driver winning each week, Keselowski will.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
This team has turned into one of those teams that is always a threat to win each and every weekend. Last weekend at Martinsville, it was the difference between a two-tire stop and a four-tire one that might have put Junior in Victory Lane.
That was then, and this is now. This Steve Letarte-led team finished second in Las Vegas, the only other 1.5-miler Cup cars have run on this year. Letarte obviously has a setup for the No. 88 Chevrolet that rewards its driver with fast speeds and a comfortable feel from behind the wheel.
That comfortable feel is the key to success in the Sprint Cup series, and it is also why this team has seen so much of it so far this season.
Given his record on 1.5-mile tracks in general (seven wins), you have to consider Biffle as the next driver to win this season, extending the number of different winners to seven. The Roush Fenway Racing driver has two wins and an amazing 12 top-10s at TMS. This place is one of Biffle's best tracks. It's also the scene of his first win with current crew chief Matt Puccia (April 2012).
"A win is important for us at this stage in the game, but so is a top-five finish and to run competitively," said Biffle in a pre-race release. I feel really good where we are at. We just need to close the deal and this is one of our best tracks.”
Close the deal, indeed.