Saturday, September 14, 2013

Final Geico 400 Chicago Driver Ratings: Does Logano Take the Next Step?

Is Logano ready to take charge? 
After watching Joey Logano have another strong performance during Saturday's final practice session at Chicagoland Speedway, he shoots up the ratings charts as the top driver expected to win Sunday's Geico 400. Logano had the eighth-fastest lap in the early session and the third-fastest lap during happy hour, but what makes him so highly thought of this week is his recent performances on the big horsepower 1.5- and 2-mile tracks.

We all saw it coming with Logano. He was showing signs earlier in the year that he was going to be a threat on these tracks with a third-place finish at Fontana in March. Then there was a fifth at Texas and Charlotte, third at Kentucky, and then he finally broke through with his first win of the season at Michigan in August. On his next attempt at big, fast track, he was runner-up at Atlanta on Sept. 1.

Not only has he proved to be one of the most consistent drivers on these type of tracks, but he's also riding with all kinds of confidence as he heads into the Chase. For the first time in his career, Logano is showing that he belongs up there with the small group of elite drivers. He starts from the pole on Sunday and should also take comfort in the fact that teammate Brad Keselowski won this race last season, which kicked off an improbable Sprint Cup Championship run.

Logano is currently 20-to-1 odds to win the Championship and should be considered a strong candidate to give favorites Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch a run for their money. No one believed Keselowski could win at the start of the Chase last season, but he changed a lot of attitudes toward what is perceived needed to win a Chase.

For the most part, the only model we had for what it takes to win a Chase was based in Johnson and the few that were able to outlast him over the 10-race stretch. That is, until Keselowski showed us how it‘s done.

It also helps a driver's cause to win the Chase if they're good on the type of track that half the Chase races are on, which are 1.5-mile tracks. We're not saying he's going to win it all, we're just not putting his name down on the bottom half of listed contenders. Since there are 13 drivers this year, Logano falls into the top-six of contending drivers. He just might turn out to be the best thing since sliced bread.

Read More Here......Final Driver Ratings for Chicago

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