JOEY LOGANO SCORES FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON IN THRILLING FASHION
Ft. Worth, TX (April 7, 2014) - Joey Logano qualified 10th for Sunday’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. By making the final round in knockout qualifying on Friday, Logano is now the only driver to reach the final round in each qualifying session held this season.
Rain once again played a part in the start of the race at Texas Motor Speedway, delaying the event until Monday afternoon. Mother Nature has not been kind to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season, as it has rained at six of the seven events in 2014.
At the beginning of the race, the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion was handling tight in the center of the corners and needed more drive coming out of the turns. Despite the handling issues, Logano was able to keep position near the top 10 as the first 50 laps were run at Texas.
Logano moved into the top 10 by lap 60 despite the fact he was still struggling with issues on the car. Crew Chief Todd Gordon continued to make wedge and air pressure adjustments to the Shell-Pennzoil Ford as the sun continued to shine, altering the track conditions. Drive off the corners was Logano’s biggest issue for the rest of the afternoon. However, the Team Penske driver continued to move his way through the field, as he entered the top five at lap 160.
The Shell-Pennzoil team had strong pit stops all afternoon long, as Logano consistently emerged from pit lane ahead of his competitors. By lap 200, Logano had raced his way into the top three. On a lap 226 restart, Logano found himself running second beside Penske teammate Brad Keselowski. The two drivers raced side-by-side into turn one and Logano took the lead. As it turned out, it was a lead he held for most of the rest of the day.
After a round of green-flag pit stops, Logano appeared to be headed for victory when a caution flag came out just before he took the white flag. The sequence set up a green-white-checkered flag shootout to the finish. As Logano made a final stop, the Shell-Pennzoil team once again performed great service getting Logano out in third place and the first car on four tires.
As the final green flag waved, Logano fell into line in second place behind race leader Jeff Gordon. Getting a great run off of turn four as he came to the white flag, Logano passed Gordon and set his sights on the checkered flag and his first win of the 2014 season. The win was an important one as it virtually locks Logano into the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Logano led the most laps in the race, pacing the field three times for 108 laps.
“It’s been a heck of a season so far,” said Logano. “I feel like the Shell-Pennzoil Ford could have been to Victory Lane a couple of times so far, and we’re finally here. I feel like we gave away a couple already this season, so this car is fast. We’re here to be a force all year. I’m so excited I can’t even speak right now. I’m stoked. It’s super cool. Texas Motor Speedway is one of the coolest race tracks. The first time I came here I got my butt handed to me really bad, so to win at this track means a lot.”
With the victory, the fourth of his Sprint Cup Series career, Logano moved up four spots to fourth in the series standings, just 24 points behind Gordon. The next race on the series circuit is the Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night, April 12th.