Drivers know it’s time to just win, baby!
“Just win, baby!” was the long-time motto of the Oakland Raiders and it’s certainly on the minds of drivers here at Phoenix International Raceway.
Sunday’s Can-Am 500 will settle which two drivers will join Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards in racing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Six drivers are vying for those final two spots, and the top four of those six are separated by just two points right now.
Thus, the best way to make it Homestead and then claim the title once you get there is to just win, baby.
Joey Logano, who comes into Sunday’s race second in points, knows that.
Asked if he had a preference as to who made the final four, Logano said he didn’t.
“No, I don’t care. I really don’t,” said Logano. “I just want to get myself in. it doesn’t matter in all honesty because I think you have to win the race at Homestead. It has happened the last two years and it is a good chance the winner of that race will be one of the final four guys.”
And so, winning really is everything now.
“You have to win the race and to win the race you have to beat everybody,” said Logano. “I worry most about us getting in, not really about locking somebody else out.”
Kurt Busch, who won the first Chase in 2004, also believes that winning is essential now.
“In all honesty, it comes down to raw speed, it comes down to execution and being able to have the perfect type of race,” said Busch. “That’s what this type of format demands is perfection and being able to win at any moment to continue to advance or to win the title.”
And Busch agreed with Logano that this year’s champion will have to win at Homestead.
“The way the championship has been won the last couple of years, the winner won Homestead,” Busch said. “He won the race. He didn’t just finish third or 10th or when I won the championship, I finished fifth that day which was enough to win. The format has now been created where you have to win to advance and win to win the championship.”