Joey Logano says he never wants to experience a repeat of his 2017 "horror film" season, in which he missed out on the playoffs despite winning a race at Richmond.
The Penske driver started last season with eight top-six finishes in the first nine races, with the last of that run his Richmond victory.
He was then handed an encumbered finish, meaning the win did not guarantee him a playoff spot, for failing the post-race inspection.
Logano then failed to win in the next 18 races to secure automatic qualification and did not score enough points to make it through the cut-off, having made the playoffs in the three years prior.
"We never want to have that feeling again. That sucks," said Logano. "Not being in the playoffs is no fun.
"I think after going through that and living that horror film, you don't want to do that again.
"There is plenty of motivation to make sure that doesn't happen again."
Having finished second to Jimmie Johnson - who secured his seventh NASCAR Cup title - in the 2016 Homestead finale, Logano said he was "blindsided" by last season's collapse.
"After you almost win the championship and win a bunch of races the last four years before that, you think making the playoffs is kind of a given," he said.
"That is kind of the way I thought. 16 drivers [in the playoffs], I thought that was a given.
"I would say it blindsided every one of us. We didn't think the penalty at Richmond was a big deal.
"We thought we would go win more races, no big deal. Then it was one thing after another and before we knew it our back was against the wall.
"We almost won the second Richmond race [and made the playoffs]. We came in second. Figures."