Logano Lights the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Texas Fires
FORT WORTH, Texas - Joey Logano captured his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Texas Motor Speedway victory by passing and outlasting Jeff Gordon by 0.476 of a second during a green-white-checkered-flag finish.
The 27th series race in the Lone Star State was delayed one day due to rain and finished with Texas-sized drama when a tire failed Kurt Busch's No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing car and brought out the seventh caution flag of the race as Logano's No. 22 was nearing the white flag.
Logano pitted his No. 22 to take on four tires and restarted on the inside line behind Gordon's No. 24 which was equipped with only two new tires. Logano's pit call enabled him to guide his No. 22 past Gordon's No. 24 on Lap 339 of 340 and hang on for his fourth series victory.
The 24-year-old Team Penske competitor, who is the only driver to capture three consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series Kentucky Speedway victories, banked his third straight and fourth top-five NSCS Texas finish. He led the three times for a race-best 108 laps.
"That was a lot of emotion. You felt like you were going to win the race and the caution comes out when you're coming to take the white? You've got to be kidding me.
"The boys did a great job in the pits. We came out where we needed to be. We got a good enough restart to get a good enough run on the No. 24 to pass at the end.
"It feels good to be back in Victory Lane, in the Chase. I'm stoked," Logano said after becoming the seventh different race winner to open a NSCS season and extending a Chase for the Sprint Cup era record.
Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers and Kyle Larson completed the race top five.
Gordon reeled in his third top-five and fifth top-10 finish of the season and takes over the series championship lead. He will start the April 12 Darlington Raceway event holding a four-point edge on defending series champion and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth.
"It was a great call (to take two tires). I think (Crew Chief) Allen (Gustafson) learned a lot in California when we took four (tires). We felt like that didn't go so well for us.
"I think coming in (to the pits) sixth, you're in that position that you can gamble. You're not going to win it with four, you're not going to win it with none. I think that was a good call.
"I got a pretty good restart. I was shocked I was leading off of two, to be honest. I wish I would have run a little bit higher down three and four. I'm sure Joey was going to go wherever I didn't. Probably would have been a little bit better off on the top.
"He crossed over and got into the back of me pretty good. At that point I was thinking I just want to finish. I looked out my mirror and those guys were racing hard behind me.
"I feel very fortunate to finish second. Joey was the class of the field there the second half of the race. I knew it was going to be hard to hold those guys off," Gordon said after leading a race-best four times for 40 laps.
Kyle Busch, the only driver in Kentucky Speedway history to manufacture four different race victories in four different series, clicked off his second top-five and third top-10 finish of the season. He led 10 circuits in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing car in the middle of the race.
"The Penske cars, I went by one of them in one run like he was standing still, then he went by me in the next run like I was standing still. Kind of crazy the way that happened. They come out of nowhere and took off the last 70 laps, 80 laps, whatever it was. They were going to be tough to beat.
"When we pitted on that final green flag stop, (Crew Chief) Dave (Rogers) and the guys made good adjustments. I was able to come back up and cut my deficit to the leaders probably in half, but I was probably so far behind I wasn't going to get there.
"Then the caution came out. Chaos ensues on a restart. You fight for everything you can.
"The 24's strategy was probably a good strategy to go with. If you would have had probably two, three more guys do that, then we probably could have won the race," Busch said.
The series returns to Kentucky Speedway June 28 for the Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts. The fourth NSCS event in track history closes out a three-race weekend that opens with the June 26 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 and additionally features a 300-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series race June 27.
Tickets, Kroger Fan Zone passes that provide a trackside view of a Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts race day concert with country music star Thomas Rhett along with access to great activities on race day, and campsites can be purchased through the respective pages of this website.
- Kentucky Speedway -