Logano Captures First Pole of 2017
AVONDALE. A.Z.— Joey Logano will start from the pole in Sunday’s Camping World 500 from Phoenix International Raceway. This is Logano’s first pole of the season, and his 18th career pole.
“I thought I had a pretty good (Turns) 1 and 2, I was able to hook the bottom. (Turns) 3 and 4 is where nothing went right. I didn’t think it was going to be quite good enough,” Logano said. “I pushed as hard as I could. Sometimes you overdrive it a little bit and you can still make some speed. Proud of this team and proud of the all-Ford front row. That’s a pretty special deal.
Logano sees this as a potential momentum builder for his team.
“This has been a good track for us and we were finally able to break through and win here last fall. I feel like we had a good car in race trim today. Our car was very fast,” said Logano.
The first round of qualifying started out silently. However, many drivers were still in inspection after the green flag flew. Jamie McMurray was the first driver to hit the track. All cars passed through tech at the halfway point of the opening round. Many drivers took two laps. All drivers made a lap in the first round. Kyle Larson was fastest at 136.695 mph, McMurray was second fastest at 136.467 mph, Ryan Blaney was third at 135.731 mph, Logano was fourth fastest at 135.583 mph, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five at 135.542 mph. No drivers will be heading home. Notable drivers who did not move on to the next round include Daniel Suarez, who will start 27th, and Aric Almirola, who will start 28th.
The middle round saw drivers hit the track quickly with Kyle Busch being the first one out. However, the caution flew in the round for debris. The team of Earnhardt Jr. believed the tire chalk was on the track, but it was still on the car. Logano was the fastest in this round at 137.065 mph, Blaney was tsecond fastest at 136.731 mph, Chase Elliott was third fastest at 136.565 mph, McMurray was fourth fastest at 136.297 mph, and Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five at 136.199 mph. Notable drivers who did not advance to the third round included Clint Bowyer, who will start 13th, Jimmie Johnson, who will start 14th, Martin Truex Jr., who will start 16th, and Kevin Harvick, who will start 23rd.
The final round saw nobody hop onto the track very quickly. Earnhardt Jr. was the first onto the track. Many drivers began to hit the track with one minute remaining. Logano posted the fastest time at 137.321 mph, Blaney posted the second fastest time at 136.877 mph, Earnhardt Jr. posted the third fastest time at 136.783 mph, Larson posted the fourth fastest time at 136.654 mph, and McMurray posted the fifth fastest time at 136.302 mph.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series teams will have two practice sessions on Friday on Motor Racing Network and Fox Sports 2 at 12:00 p.m. EST and 2:30 p.m. EST.
MENCS: Busch and Logano Meet
AVONDALE, AZ - After the incident on pit road that happened in the closing laps during the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano a week ago, the two drivers met this morning at Phoenix International Raceway in the NASCAR hauler to discuss what went down in Sin City.
“Everything’s great. I’m just ready to get back in my racecar,” Busch told FOX Sports 1 and the rest of the media scrum outside the MENCS hauler. “Looking forward to a fantastic weekend in Phoenix, back to the racetrack.”
While the No. 18 Toyota driver didn’t have much to say, Logano, driver of the No. 22 Ford briefly explained what they discussed in the meeting. “I just tried to explain that I made a mistake (going) underneath him (Busch),” Logano told various media outlets. “He asked for some data and I was able to show him that. That it was pretty clear that’s what happened. We’ll move on. Time will tell. Nothing I could do except plead my case and say it was an honest mistake, hard racing.”
Logano approved of the meeting and what was said. “I think it always helps to talk face-to-face,” he said. “There’s texting and there’s phone calls and then there’s face-to-face. Old school face-to-face usually works the best.”
NASCAR’s Steve O’Donnell also spoke once the meeting had concluded. “To hear where drivers really stand is helpful,” he told FS1. “The ultimate goal is to make them clear of our expectations moving forward as we head into this weekend.”
O’Donnell explained that last week’s ordeal did not seem intentional or negative. “In this case, we saw two drivers racing hard for position,” he said. “We’d make the same call again this weekend if we saw a very similar thing coming out of turn four for position. That’s what NASCAR was built on.”
Logano will have more to say in the Phoenix International Raceway media center later this afternoon.
Logano Stuns Clash Field
After a race dominated by Toyota and Denny Hamlin — who led 48 of 75 laps— and a last lap pass attempt by Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano wound up with victory in the Advanced Auto Parts Clash at Daytona to kick off the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Season on a high note.
This is Logano’s first win in the Clash. Logano joins Kurt Busch and Rusty Wallace in the hall of Clash victories for Team Penske.
“It’s cool to win the Clash. We came so close last year and it’s really neat to be in Victory Lane and a good start to our day,” said Logano post race.
Logano started the race in the ninth position, but quickly saw his way to the front of the field quickly with Keselowski and Ford teammate, Kevin Harvick. The Ford contingent kept strong to hold off the Toyota contingent of Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, and Daniel Suarez.
Logano quickly lost his drafting partner when Keselowski was busted on pit road for driving through too many pit boxes.
When the race restarted, Logano held his own while trying to battle with the Joe Gibbs Racing contingent. With one lap remaining in the first segment, Joe Gibbs Racing teammates and Alex Bowman dived onto pit road leaving Logano with the lead as the first segment ended.
That move by Toyota gave them the upper hand when it came to the second segment as they lead the top-four positions for majority of the second segment.
Logano went quiet for most of the second segment awaiting Keselowski, but when the time was right Keselowski worked his way through the field to Logano. Logano began pushing Keselowski towards the lead, helping to side-draft the Joe Gibbs Racing contingent.
When the white flag flew, Logano and Keselowski made their way to the second and third position. Logano was third as Keselowski, made contact with Hamlin spinning him. Logano quickly moved to the outside of the turn to the lead gaining a huge advantage over Ky. Busch.
“I had to make the move. I know all the other drivers are back watching and they know not to make that block on me again,” said Keselowski about the move he had to make.
“There’s really not much I can do differently at the end. Perhaps staying in the middle lane there through one and two and trying to side draft. He (Brad Keselowski) had help from the 22 (Joey Logano). I was in a bad spot there. He was just coming so much faster than what I was,” said Hamlin. “There’s not much that I could have done to defend. We lined up so well as Toyota teammates throughout the race that once those guys started breaking that up and leap frogging, he (Keselowski) had commitment from the 22 and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and when they were able to back up there that really put us at a speed differential.”
Hamlin ended up finishing 13th, while Keselowski finished sixth after their collision on the exit of turn two.
Logano scored Ford Performance’s first victory in the Clash since 2004 when Dale Jarrett won the race.
Ky. Busch finished second, Bowman finished third, Danica Patrick finishes fourth, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five.
Truex Edges Logano for Martinsville Pole
MARTINSVILLE, VA -- Martin Truex Jr. will start from the pole in the second consecutive week in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500. Truex beat Joey Logano by .008 seconds in the final round. This is Truex’s fifth pole in 2016 and first pole in 22 races at Martinsville.
“Mostly because it’s Martinsville – I’ve been second here a few times. This place is just so tough and that first pit stall is just so critical to having a shot at winning here. I would love to get my first grandfather clock. And a little bit after last week, this helps a little bit. All in all, just proud of the guys for coming here with a game plan and executing,” said Truex Jr after qualifying was complete.
“I had a good center, when I went to the gas, I just got loose. I could get a good launch, I was just a little aggressive inside the car, may of cost us a little. But that’s what it takes here at Martinsville. You have to be right there on that edge to go fast,” said Logano after missing the pole position by a narrow margin.
The first round of qualifying saw Kurt Busch and Landon Cassill go out on the track and get heat in the car. After five minutes passed in the round. Jeffrey Earnhardt was the only driver to make a hard lap as drivers sat on pit road waiting for the track to cool. The caution flag flew in this round due to a spin by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The caution once again flew as Austin Dillon hit the wall in turn one. Both driver wheel-hopped going into turn one. Once the track went green, there were no more accidents. No drivers will be sent home. Logano was the fastest at 98.323 mph, Tony Stewart was second at 98.145 mph, Truex Jr. was third at 97.785 mph, Denny Hamlin was fourth at 97.739, and Chase Elliott rounded out the top-five at 97.709 mph. Michael Annett was the only driver who did not post a time in the first round
The second round of qualifying went without accident. Elliott was the fastest in this round at 98.129 mph, Truex Jr. was second by .001 seconds at 98.124 mph, Ky. Busch was third at 98.114 mph, Stewart was fourth at 98.012 mph, and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five at 97.790 mph. Chase drivers who did not advance include Matt Kenseth who qualified 17th, Kevin Harvick who qualified 20th, and Kurt Busch qualified 23rd. Notable drivers who advanced to the final round were David Ragan and AJ Allmendinger.
The third round of qualifying also went without accident. Truex Jr. was fastest at 98.206 mph, Logano was second at 98.165 mph, Johnson was third at 97.840 mph, Allmendinger was fourth at 97.729, and Elliott rounded out the top-five at 97.699 mph. Ragan was able to qualify 12th at a speed of 96.830 mph.
The NASCR Sprint Cup Series will have two practice sessions on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on NBCSN in a final attempt to dial in their vehicles for Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 from Martinsville Speedway.
Logano Leaves Talladega Unscathed
With the Hellmann’s 500 going into NASCAR Overtime, fuel becoming an issue in the closing laps, and receiving an early penalty for removing equipment, Joey Logano was victorious at Talladega Superspeedway to advance in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Logano is the lone driver from Team Penske to advance for a championship. This is Logano’s second victory of 2016.
“It’s never a layup here at Talladega. It’s always close. You never get a big lead. A good Shell/Pennzoil Ford. Todd made some good adjustments during the race and found some speed in the car, so that was pretty neat to see some of that. We got that track position and just hung onto it. I was able to stay on the bottom and try to run the bottom and keep everyone in line, and that worked out really well. Kevin did a good job with that, which ultimately got us all a great finish. It was fun racing there at the end. I was really confused. I didn’t know what lane to pick coming to the last restart, but I knew Kevin had a lot of experience in these situations and is great at speedway racing, so he did a good job of pushing me out and then had to defend the top lane with Brian Scott, so a couple of Fords out front here at Talladega is pretty cool,” said Logano in a post race interview.
The first half saw the level of attrition at an all time high. Second-place qualifier, Brad Keselowski, took an early lead fending off three-wide racing behind him. However, Martin Truex Jr. was able to find a hole to challenge Keselowski to the lead, but was unable to gain to the lead. Chase Elliott tried to make his move on Keselowski for numerous laps to capture the lead with help from Greg Biffle and was successful. After leading a couple laps, Keselowski was able to side-draft off Elliott to regain the lead. As the first round of green flag pit stops began, the main draft split in half to go down pit road. Logano was penalized for removing his jack from pit road as Denny Hamlin was penalized for speeding. Truex Jr. had a catastrophic engine failure to bring out the first caution of the day shortly after green-flag stops. When the race went back green, Keselowski regained the lead to block the momentum from the drivers behind him. Keselowski attempted to block Elliott, but Elliott was able to gain the lead. Elliott’s lead lasted shortly as Greg Biffle challanged and gained the lead. Keselowski lost drafting help and dropped back. The field began to settle down and went single file on the high-line. As the field went single-file, Biffle reported a piece of debris on his grill. However, the conga line on the high lane broke as Keselowski dropped out of the line to make a valiant charge to the front. Elliott made a move on the inside of Biffle to regain the lead, and to knock the debris off the grille of Biffle. As green flag pit stops cycled through, Keselowski regained the lead. At the halfway point, Keselowski was the race leader, Ryan Blaney was in second, Kurt Busch was third, Hamlin was fourth, and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five.
As the race entered the halfway point, Elliott tried to reform the bottom line from the Talladega Conga Line, but failed to have more drivers join him. The main draft began to spread out some instead of being bumper-to-bumper. As Keselowski was dealing with overheating, Hamlin and Blaney split Keselowski giving Hamlin the lead. However, the caution flew for a wreck involving Biffle, Casey Mears, and Jeffrey Earnhardt entering into the tri-oval. On the restart, Hamlin was able to get lead and block his lead. However, Keselowski was able to regain the lead. The race returned to the conga line at the top of the racetrack. After a few laps in a single file line, Elliott began to lead a group to form a bottom lane, but the lane never came into fruition. However, Keselowski had another piece of debris on his grille, but used Ryan Blaney to clean that debris off; however, it was too late as Keselowski slowed onto the apron as his engine expired. Logano gained the lead on the restart, but the caution shortly fell for debris on the backstretch. As the race restarted, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth, who were waiting in the back, began to lose the draft. Landon Cassill saved the field from wrecking in the tri-oval as he got loose. However, Logano was reporting debris on his grille, but that caused no harm. The caution flag flew for an accident in turn three for a spin by Kasey Kahne involving Trevor Bayne and Jamie McMurray. On the restart, Logano and Harvick were head-to-head, but the caution flew for a spin by Alex Bowman. Under the caution flag, many drivers were concerned about fuel, but fuel was no issue, resulting in a victory for Logano. Brian Scott finished second, Hamlin finished third, Ku. Busch finished fourth, and Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top-five.
The Chase for the Sprint Cup Series saw four drivers having to wait another year. Keselowski was knocked out after his engine blew on lap for waiting too long to get debris off his grille. Truex Jr. also saw his chances for a championship diminish after his engine went sour on lap 43 shortly after the completion of green-flag pit stops. Austin Dillon’s championship hopes were dashed as the checkered flag flew. Dillon lost in a tiebreaker with Denny Hamlin. Hamlin was able to beat Kurt Busch by .006 seconds after Harvick let off the gas to avoid wrecking Hamlin. Despite having a 12th place finish, Elliott needed a win to advance, but could not get the drafting help to make a charge to the front.
The drivers who advanced will have their points reset to 4000. Logano will be the top seed, followed by, Jimmie Johnson, Harvick, Kenseth, Edwards, Hamlin, Ku. Busch, and Ky. Busch. The eliminated Chase drivers show Truex Jr. in the top-position. Keselowski is 23 points back from Truex, A. Dillon is 28 points behind, Elliott is 35 points behind, Kyle Larson is 36 points behind, Tony Stewart is 50 points behind, McMurray is 81 points behind, and Chris Buescher is 82 points behind.
The race saw an average speed of 159.905 mph. The time of race was 3 hours, 11 minutes, and 38 seconds. The margin of victory was 0.124 mph. There were 31 lead changes among 14 drivers. The caution flew six times for 25 laps. Only three drivers were listed as out of the race. Only 14 penalties were assessed on pit road. 34 cars were able to finish on the lead lap.
All cars passed post-race inspection. 10 of the 12 Chase drivers were inspected as the cars of Keselowski and Truex were not fit to be inspected. Logano, Scott, Hamlin, A. Dillon, and Stenhouse Jr. are being taken back the R&D center for further inspection.
Despite having engine issues, Keselowski was able to lead the most laps at 90. Logano was able to lead 45 laps, Biffle led 13 laps, Hamlin led 12 laps, Elliott led nine laps, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Michael Annett were able to lead six laps, Blaney was able to lead three laps, Ky. Busch and Truex Jr. led two laps, and A. Dillon, Kenseth, Carl Edwards, and Tony Stewart all led one lap.
Next up for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be at trip to Martinsville Speedway for the Goodys Fast Relief 500. Coverage from Martinsville will begin on Friday with first practice at 11:00 a.m. EST on NBCSN.