Joey Logano was disgusted.
Yes, Carl Edwards took the blame for the incident between the two drivers on Lap 258, which knocked Edwards out of Sprint Cup title contention and damaged Logano’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford.
So, why was Logano mad? Because he finished second in the championship standings.
Never mind, the damage forced Logano to pit after the red flag was lifted and he restarted eighth with five laps to go. He made his way up to third on the restart of a two-lap overtime and ended up fourth.
“There’s a never quit attitude on this team, for sure, but God I hate second,” Logano said at his car after the race. “It’s hard to be positive right now – we got beat. I’d like to have that last restart back because I would probably do something different.”
Logano’s crew chief, Todd Gordon, tried to console his driver.
“Use it as motivation for 2017, that’s what we do,” Gordon told Logano.
Logano didn’t dominate the race – he led just six of the 268 laps – but he remained up front and in contention for the win virtually the entire race.
Contact with Edwards
He was making a move for the lead on a restart on Lap 258 when Edwards dove down the track to block him, knowing a successful move on Logano’s part could well have given him the lead, the win and the championship.
“We’re racing for the championship, how do you not make those moves?” Logano said. “I had a run and an opportunity to go to the bottom (groove) to try to get him and I didn’t. He has to defend the spot, I don’t blame him.
“Ultimately, it may have cost each of us our championships, but it is what it is.”
A more than 30-minute red-flag after the incident gave Logano’s team an opportunity to formulate a plan to assess the damage to the car and get its driver back into contention for the championship.
“Todd made an amazing call – I would probably never do what he did, which was have us come down to pit road and get tires and go for it,” Logano said. “Then we had a good restart to shoot up there and get some of those spots back.”
Giving it everything he had
After the incident with Edwards, Gordon said he didn’t think their chances looked very good but he said he never lost faith in his driver.
“You give Joey Logano an opportunity with a late-race restart and that kid gets the job done,” Gordon said. “He’s a phenomenal talent. He’s a closer.
“As we’ve done all along, we played offense. We put him in a position where he can be aggressive. We weren’t going to win the race from ninth and we’re here to win the race.
“We come here with four cars racing for the championship and nothing matters other than who wins. That trophy goes to win a winner and I can’t tell you who finished third or fourth the last two years.”