Mid-race accident derails likely top-10 finish for Logano in Kentucky

Handing on the No. 20 changed dramatically after being hit from behind.

Post Race Highlights: · Joey Logano qualified the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota 18th for Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Kentucky Speedway.

Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

· Once the race began, Logano started to move forward from his starting position and got up to 15th by lap three. However, not long after that, Logano’s car came down with a “tight off” condition and he dropped back a few spots.

· On lap 21, Logano reported that his air conditioning unit had stopped working. The revelation was not what Logano was looking for on a night where temperatures were in the mid- to upper-80s and the humidity was just as high. Despite his best efforts to fix the unit in the car under cautions, Logano drove all night with no A/C.

· It was quickly evident that track position would be king at Kentucky. Logano and the Dollar General team took four tires on their first three stops while others gambled with two or no tires. Logano hung around 15th for much of the event while working on the car’s handling.

· On lap 150, Logano pitted for fuel only and got out in 12th. Just a couple of laps later, Logano finally found his way into the top-10.

· Just five laps after breaking into the top-10, Logano was hit from behind by the No. 39. The contact caused Logano to slide down the track and into the side of the No. 15. The resulting damage dramatically changed the handling on the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota.

· A tire-rub and pushed in fender made the car extremely loose and a long green-flag run kept Logano from getting into the pits to fix the damage. During the process, he fell a lap down to the leaders and all the way back to 25th.

· Finally a caution with just 50 laps to go allowed the team to bring Logano in and fix the damage. Once the race resumed, Logano proved to once again be as fast as he was prior to the incident. Logano quickly drove past several cars and into the Lucky Dog position. However, the race ended without another caution flag and Logano wasn’t able to take advantage of the Lucky Dog spot. He would go on to finish 22nd.

· The finish dropped Logano one spot in the point standings to 16th. However, Logano is tied in points with the two drivers ahead of him, all of which are battling for the final Wild Card spot in the Chase.

Logano’s Post-Race Thoughts:

“That was a disappointing night for the Dollar General Toyota. I think we had a car that could have finished in the top-10 or just outside of the top-10 and we had it taken away from us by someone else’s mistake. That is the frustrating part about it. We had a car that was capable of finishing further up and we just had it taken away from us. We need to have races where we make up points and not lose them. If we have the finishes that we should have had tonight and in Michigan, we would be right where we want to be in the point standings. But in the end, you can’t let this get you down. When things like tonight happen, you just have to keep your head up and keep digging. Even though we were all upset about what happened on the track, we just worked on making the car as good as we could and making the best out of it. That is the sign of a team that is working really good together. We just need to keep it going week after week and things will take care of themselves.

“We didn’t have the best car out there tonight but it was getting better and Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and the guys were making the right calls. The 39 car just ran all over us in the middle of the front straightaway for no apparent reason. He had a run on us and just ran right into the back of us. That caused me to go down and hit the 15 car and pretty much ruined both of our nights. After that, the car was too loose and we couldn’t catch a caution to come in and fix the damage so we went a lap down. Once we got that caution and fixed the car, it was back to ok and we got ourselves in the Lucky Dog spot but just never got another caution. At the end, we could have made it to 12th or 13th or maybe even into the top-10, but just never got a chance to get back on the lead lap. We never quit and that's why we work hard for days like today. It didn't screw up my focus any, which is what you want on rough nights like this.”

Source: JGR

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Race report
Tags gibbs, logano, toyota