NASCAR Mailbag - Danica's future and Logano's struggles

Could Danica Patrick find a career revival in the Xfinity Series and will Joey Joey Logano come back with a vengeance in 2018?

Here are this week's answers from our NASCAR team.

What do you think about the increase in the amount of road courses used in 2018 and do you think NASCAR runs too many ovals in a single season? – From Darren

Darren, I think the addition of the Charlotte Roval will make for an exciting new element in the NASCAR playoffs and something unique - not quite a true road course and something very far from its typical 1.5-mile oval use. If the Roval concept turns out to be successful, I would not be surprised to see some of the other 1.5-mile speedways that have two race dates change one to utilizing their infield road course. As far as I know, all of them have an infield road course layout of some kind. This would be one way to cut down on the number of 1.5-mile ovals on the schedule, which I think is disproportionately high. - Jim Utter

Hi Team! After Joey Logano's disappointing 2017  season, do you think that he will be amazing in 2018? Or is he past his prime? Also, with Tab Boyd leaving as his spotter, and TJ Majors taking his place, do you think that will change their team significantly? – From Jack

Jack, I don't think a race car driver in his 20s can be "past his prime," at least I hope not. It's easy to forget now but were it not for a NASCAR penalty, Logano would have been a member of the 16-driver playoff field this season. I think the success of his teammate, Brad Keselowski, only will help his rebound in 2018. I always considered Tab Boyd one of the better spotters in the Cup series anyway, but certainly the addition of T.J. Majors shouldn't do anything but help Logano's performance next season.  - Jim Utter

I wanted to share, a Reddit post from a guy who monitored Danica's radio Sunday. Sounds like they 1) don't care how she does, 2) I wonder how long this has been going on. I can't believe they’re still using chassis from the Newman era! Is it a product of the sponsorship dollars? Or because they know she's gone shortly. It actually makes me wonder when I hear this if it has been more the equipment than her capabilities this year. I wish she wasn't stuck in the Cup series. I look at how Sam Hornish Jr. did in Xfinity when he ran the Penske car and I think she could be a second coming of that and possibly revive her career. – From Brad

Hey Brad, I think Stewart-Haas Racing is being spread pretty thin right now with only one fully funded team—the No. 4 with Kevin Harvick. Considering that Harvick is competing for a championship—and Patrick is a lame duck, she is the least of SHR’s concerns right now. As for whether the equipment matches her talent, since she hasn't  shown any measurable gains in the last five years, I would have to say no.

Certainly, another year in Xfinity would have been beneficial to Patrick, who had just one full season in stock cars before moving to Cup full-time in 2013. But I’m hearing there is a deal in the works that could keep her in Cup next year. So stay tuned. - Lee Spencer

Have you heard any 2018 full-time plans for Ryan Preece? He has been my favorite underdog of late. He may be 26 years old, but he has "it." People tend to forget Jimmie Johnson was closer to 30 years old when the 48 team was born. He reminds me a lot of JJ, due to the fact that they both had runs in Xfinity in so-so equipment and once they got their shot, they thrived. – From Brad

Brad, As you probably heard on Wednesday, Joe Gibbs Racing is expanding Preece’s role with the company next season. While it’s not a full-time ride, Preece will have a great opportunity to continue to display his talent in top of the line equipment. I can’t help but think that 10 years ago, owners would have been beating the door down to sign and driver with Preece’s talent. Unfortunately, so often even the best rides today are pay to play. But I’m thrilled that we’ll be able to see Preece in at least 10 races—maybe more—next year. - Lee Spencer

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About this article
Drivers Joey Logano , Ryan Preece , Danica Patrick
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing , Team Penske , Joe Gibbs Racing
Article type Special feature