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NASCAR

Joey Logano’s Fresh Start With Penske Racing Is Off To A Great Start

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After spending most of his career with one team, the 2013 NASCAR season was a fresh start for Joey Logano after making a big change.

The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season was meant to be a brand new opportunity for Logano after spending several years with Joe Gibbs Racing. With a move to Penske Racing, the new start was also a chance of Logano improving after one of his best seasons.

Following one of his best finishes within his time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Logano’s first season with Penske seemed as the right opportunity to continue his growth and success. With 15 races into the 2013 season, Logano has shown that he can be considered a competitor.

So far in the season, Logano has improved his performance on the racetrack and has been able to find consistency. The start of the season may have gotten off to a 19th place finish at Daytona, but from there the first few races weren’t the results he may have been looking for in his fresh start.

Following Daytona, things got off to a slow start for Logano. At Phoenix he qualified in 32nd, one of his worst qualifying spots in the season and captured a 26th place finish. At Las Vegas he managed to improve to a 12th place and by the time Bristol came around he was starting to wok his way up on the track until he had some trouble with his former teammate Denny Hamlin.  Bristol still gave Logano a top 20 finish, but business would begin to pick up for him despite the early season troubles.

The race at Fontana looked like Logano’s best chance at his first win of the year. He managed to lead for several laps and captured the lead in the race’s final restart. Despite contending for his first win, he ended up leaving Fontana with a third place finish.

At Texas Logano captured another top five finish, but NASCAR found issues within both of Penske’s cars, it later resulted in a penalty for Logano and teammate Brad Keselowski. The penalty towards the No. 22 team would hurt Logano moving forward the next couple of races.

The penalty from Texas went on to hurt Logano at Kansas with a 39th place finish. At Richmond he was able to rebound to a third place finish and at Talladega it was the opposite as he finished in 35th. Following the penalty, Logano faced some issues and at Darlington, the first race without his crew chief Todd Gordon, he captured a 22nd place finish.

Despite missing his crew chief and the inconsistent results, Logano managed to adapt to all of the changes and has since been performing at his best.

Since the All-Star race Logano has gone on to capture five straight top 10 finishes including a second at the All-Star race, fifth at Charlotte, seventh at Dover, 10th at Pocono and ninth at Michigan.

Heading into the first road course race of the season Logano goes into the race tied 13th in the points with Martin Truex Jr. and 10 points out of the second wild card spot.

Throughout the season Logano has improved on some of his stats from the 2012 season, one of the best in his Sprint Cup career.  With less than half of the season over, Logano has improved on his average finish of 17.4 from 2012 to 15.7. He has captured four top five and 7 top 10 finishes.

Although Logano has seen some improvement he has yet to win a race or a pole compared to this time last year when he won a pole and a race at Pocono.

As the season continues, Logano has been off to a great fresh start with his move to Penske Racing. Although he is starting to improve and move up within the points, there have been speed bumps along the way. He’s already had a few issues on the track with Hamlin and Tony Stewart, but has left it all behind. If the penalty after Texas and the 25-point deduction had not occurred Logano would be in the top 10 in points. With the summer races on the schedule ahead, one thing he might have a chance to achieve if he continues with the consistency he has found as of late, could be his first appearance in the chase.

Christy Valdez is a NASCAR writer for Rant Sports. Follow her on Twitter @Knowursports and on Facebook at On The Sidelines With Christy