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Logano riding wave of momentum to Kentucky

June 26, 2012, Bill Kimm, NASCAR.com

Joey Logano has three top-10s in his past four Cup starts, including a victory at Pocono. (Autostock)

Three-time track winner in Nationwide ready to turn that into Cup success

Joey Logano's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch, might have dominated the inaugural Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky last season, but make no mistake: the 1.5-mile track located in Northern Kentucky is Logano's house.

Since coming into the sport at age 18 in 2008, Logano and Kentucky have gone together like banjos and bluegrass. In his first start, Logano started from the pole, led 76 of 200 laps and cruised to a more than two-second victory for his first national series win, becoming the youngest race winner in Nationwide Series history. The next year, Logano took the checkered again from the pole. In 2010, he made it a trifecta of poles and victories, becoming the first driver to win three consecutive races from the pole at a single track.

"I enjoy the track, and I've been fortunate enough to have a lot of success there over the last couple of years."

--JOEY LOGANO

Kentucky is Logano's house.

"I enjoy the track, and I've been fortunate enough to have a lot of success there over the last couple of years in the Nationwide Series," Logano said. "It's one of those places that you just take to. Ever since I ran my first Nationwide race there back in 2008, I've just had a pretty good knack for Kentucky."

That success didn't translate in 2011, with a 10th-place run in the Nationwide race and a 14th-place finish in the Cup event the following day. But Logano said he is looking "for bigger and better things this time around," mostly due to the performance of his No. 20 Cup team this season.

Sixteen races in, Logano has secured his second career Cup victory with a win at Pocono three weeks ago, and his six top-10s equal last year's performance. More importantly, his past six starts have netted four top-10s, and his average finish of 14.5 is 11th best in the series during that stretch.

"The No. 20 team has really been on our game the last few weeks, and its showing on the track," Logano said. "Starting at Darlington, we've really picked up our performance, and we're starting to get the results all of these guys deserve."

All this success has Logano looking toward something he hasn't been able to often -- the Chase for the Sprint Cup. At 15th in points with a victory, Logano is in the hunt for one of the two wild-card positions, which go to the two drivers who are ranked 11th through 20th in points with the most victories. Logano is third in that battle, behind Busch and Ryan Newman, with just 18 points separating the trio.

"Now that we are finding ourselves running in the top 10, we need to keep working on it and make those top-10s top-fives," Logano said. "Once we do that, I think we will be a consistent force. [A win] would be huge for us in the points standings; we will just have to see what this weekend holds for us."