Joey Logano relishes NASCAR Cup Series title, looks for No. 3 in 2023
LOS ANGELES — Joey Logano had not replied to many text messages as of early Tuesday afternoon and doesn't have a spot yet picked out for where he will put his 2022 NASCAR Cup Series championship trophy.
It almost would make someone think he was going through all this for the first time.
But, no, Logano knows how this championship deal works. He won it in 2018 and earned his second one Sunday by capturing the season finale at Phoenix Raceway.
With a Team Penske celebration late Sunday night and media obligations Monday and Tuesday in Los Angeles, Logano just didn't have time other than to relish in the moment.
"The coolest moment of winning a championship is the immediate moment you get out of the car," he said. "That is the best moment. I realized that in 2018. ... You just zone out for a second when you see the people you care about the most, your favorite people, are there.
"That's pretty cool."
So after doing celebratory burnouts, Logano made sure to have his son get the checkered flag with him, and he spent as much time hugging his family and delivering high-fives to crew members on the track before having to go to the stage for the trophy presentation.
"I knew when we won it, I'm taking my time at the start-finish line," Logano said.
"The stage is great, but I'm not going there until they force me to be there. I'm going to spend time by everybody by the car."
Logano spoke Tuesday morning at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where his championship run started. He won the 2022 exhibition Clash on a temporary built track inside the iconic venue.
When he returned as the 2022 Cup champion, the weather didn't cooperate, making things a little more difficult and off schedule following a morning downpour. In some ways, that was appropriate. The 2022 season was one of difficulty and unknowns with the new Next Gen car.
At times Logano flourished. He won two races in the regular season and then maybe the most important two races of the year in the opening race of the semifinal round and then the championship event.
But at times, it was a struggle, including some hard crashes that led to Logano advocating for NASCAR to have more of a sense of urgency to solve the issue of drivers feeling the impacts of the accidents more than in the previous car.
"For the whole industry, it wasn't an easy year," Logano said. "You kind of knew that was coming.
"Any time there is a big change, there is going to be some growing pains that come along with it."
Logano possibly handled those growing pains a little better than most because he had just an awesome start to the season.
He didn't just open it by winning the Clash, he also celebrated the birth of his third child a day later.
"I thought, ‘There's a week that's going to be hard to top,'" Logano said. "You win the race and go have a baby, and it all worked perfectly as planned. ... It's going to be really hard to beat 2022 for us.
"There's obviously the grind-it-out moments and the low moments that are there like anything else. You need to cherish years like this because they don't happen all the time."
This will be the year that Logano solidified his status as a NASCAR Hall of Famer. With 31 victories and a second Cup title, there's no doubt he will be elected to NASCAR's shrine following his retirement (whenever that is, considering he's just 32 years old).
"I can't say I've thought much past the hood pins on stuff like that at this moment," Logano said. "I feel like I still have a long career ahead of me. I have a lot of wins to go."
But before earning more wins, first things first. Logano said Tuesday that he had 300-plus text messages that he hoped to start replying to on his plane ride home Tuesday afternoon.
"If you have texted me, I probably have not texted you back," Logano said. "I didn't know that many people had my phone number. I haven't gotten back to anybody yet. ... Last night was the first night I really went to sleep."
And then when he gets home, he still needs to find a permanent spot for the championship trophy.
"I feel like I need to build a cool trophy case," Logano said. "Put a couple of them in there and leave one spot empty or a couple of spots empty for more. Right?
"If you build a trophy case, you have to have empty spots for motivation. ... You've got to have room for the next one."
That might sound like confidence, but Logano already has a slogan for next year to try to earn his third title. He hopes it starts off like it did last year when the Clash opens the season Feb. 5 at the Coliseum.
"That's the goal," he said about winning another title. "We've already come up with a new slogan: Three in '23 just made sense. ... We definitely have a lot to celebrate this offseason.
"A lot of work to be done, though. And the goal is still the same as it was the beginning of this year."
Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.