Joey Logano returned to Michigan International Speedway with high hopes and qualified his No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in the 16th position for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.
In Saturday’s “Happy Hour” practice, Logano was third quick and went into Sunday’s race with a lot of confidence as one of the cars to beat.
That confidence in his No. 20 Home Depot Toyota showed early in the event. It took Logano just two laps to move from his 16th-place starting position into the top-10, where he settled into ninth.
An early caution put Logano on the bottom lane for the restart and it was quickly made evident that the bottom groove was not the preferred line around the track. With no grip down low, Logano fell back to 15th position.
The No. 20 Home Depot Toyota continued to fight against Logano and the 22-year-old fell back to 17th. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff made several changes to the car and on the ensuing run, Logano found something to help his car get through the corners better.
Logano was just falling into a groove when the No. 42 car dove underneath Logano going into turn three, got loose and got into the left rear quarter panel of the Home Depot Toyota. Logano got loose and slammed into the outside wall as a result of the contact. While limping around the track to get to the pits, Logano once again slammed into the wall. The damage forced the team to take the car behind the wall and try and make repairs.
After spending nearly 50 laps repairing the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, Logano made it back out on the track. However, just a few laps later, the No. 42 once again got into the rear of Logano’s car and put him in the wall for a second time. Once again, the team was forced to take the car behind the wall to make repairs.
Logano was able to return to the track and finish the event, eventually coming home in the 31st position.
Logano’s Post-Race Thoughts:
“That was a very frustrating race for the Home Depot team today. We came into the race and felt like we had a really good car and a car that could compete for the win. But the car was just so much looser than it was in practice and I couldn’t get into the corners and that just kills your entire corner speed. We were struggling but making it better and then we just flat got wrecked.
There was too much damage and we had to go behind the wall. The guys worked really hard and we went back out and got wrecked by the same guy again and had to go behind the wall for a second time. It was just a bad, bad deal. We really need to go to the drawing board and get this figured out.
We need to transfer our practice speed to the race. Now I’m just looking at these last three races before the Chase starts to go all out and try and get a win.”
Source: Joe Gibbs Racing