DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski went island hopping last Sunday.
If that sounds like a Caribbean vacation, or a way for the Team Penske teammates to relieve the accumulating stress from pressure-packed Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, guess again.
Island hopping is the way Keselowski got to the front in Sunday's rain-delayed Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona. It's the way Logano ultimately won the race. And it's the way the Ford drivers hope to win the biggest prize of all on Sunday in the Daytona 500 (2 p.m. ET on FOX).
Keselowski, who's a student of history, borrowed a concept from World War II to characterize the tactic.
"I love studying military history and World War II and how they island-hopped to Japan," Keselowski said. "That's what the Toyotas are forcing everyone to do. They have enough strength in numbers, they have six quality cars that they can create strength by having multiple cars. ...
"So they only way you can beat them is to island-hop. You have to take one car at a time, destroy it (separate it from the rest via the side-draft) and go to the next one until you get to the main prize, which is, obviously, first. That takes a very specific set of tactics."
Logano said the side-drafting technique was more difficult than it might have appeared to a casual observer.
"I wish it was easy," Logano said. "It took us the whole race to figure out how to do it -- we almost ran out of time. The side-draft is huge, like it's always been. Brad is probably the best at doing that leapfrog or what he calls the 'island hopping,' whatever you want to call it, and we were able to pull them apart and get in a hole and pull another one apart and get in the hole.
"He's really good at that, probably better than anybody at it, so he was the right guy at the right time. It was the perfect storm. I feel like my strength is being a very aggressive, strong pusher and able to use runs quick. He's able to be very strategic on where he gets behind cars and being able to pull them apart, so as a team we're able to use our strengths together and that's what pulled everyone apart, along with Harvick behind us keeping us all together as best he could."
Logano won the race when Denny Hamlin, who was leading at the white flag, was a fraction of a second too late in his attempt to block Keselowski on the final lap, and the two cars collided in Turn 2. Logano missed the wreck and took the top spot.
The 2015 Daytona 500 winner would like nothing better than another trip through the "islands" on Sunday.
WOULD A CHAMPIONSHIP ALSO BE A RETIREMENT PARTY FOR EARNHARDT?
Why would the legion of fans in Earnhardt Nation have mixed feelings about Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning a long-awaited Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship this season?
Because Earnhardt said on Wednesday during Daytona 500 media day that he's likely to retire from racing if he wins the title this year, especially after all the rehabilitation work he's done to overcome the effects of a concussion that caused him to miss the last 18 races of the 2016 season.
"Hell, yeah," Earnhardt said with a broad smile. "I would definitely not want to come back and try to race anymore if I won the championship. I would be out of here.
"You know, I've always wanted to win a championship so badly. Coming back from this injury, we worked so hard. To come back this year, win a championship, it would be hard not to hang it up."
Earnhardt is in the final year of his current contract with Hendrick Motorsports, and he has already said he wants to regain confidence in his health before he agrees to an extension.
"This is the last year of my deal," Earnhardt said. "I would like to race more. But if I win the championship, I'd have to consider going out on top. I mean, I don't know. It just really depends on a lot of different things. ... That was tongue-in-cheek. I said that a little tongue-in-cheek (in a Tuesday interview). But I'd definitely consider it, because that's the last box I don't have checked, really. There's a few races I'd like to win. The championship would definitely be the icing on the cake for my career."
MICHAEL WALTRIP HOPES TO GO OUT ON HIGH NOTE, TOO
Even though he has two Daytona 500 victories on his resume, Michael Waltrip has unfinished business at the Birthplace of Speed.
Waltrip, who first ran The Great American Race in 1987, doesn't want his last memory of the track to be the 30th-place finish he posted in last year's race.
"Well, when we ran last year's Daytona 500, it didn't go well," Waltrip said on Wednesday morning during Daytona 500 media day at Daytona International Speedway. "We didn't run good, and I guess we got into a little bit of a fender-bender and messed up the car, and I finished 30th, and I just didn't want to quit like that.
"I went to Talladega and we got a 12th-place finish, and I ran up front a little bit, and then I decided we would just try to have one more competitive run down here this year. You've got to quit sometime, and the partnership with (sponsor) Aaron's has been important to me. They could wrap their arms around us doing a final race together."