Logano: "We led 222 laps but not the right one"

Sunday was a day of both positives and negatives for Team Penske's Joey Logano.

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Logano started 17th, but quickly charged through the field at Richmond Raceway.

He took the lead for the first time on Lap 81, passing Ross Chastain at the start of the second stage. After that, he was in complete control.

Logano went on to lead 222 of 400 laps, but surprisingly finished sixth. Only three other times in his career has he led that many laps (or more) in a single race.

But despite his dominance on Sunday, something changed in the final quarter of the race, losing the lead with just over 65 laps to go after a spirited battle with eventual winner Kevin Harvick.

So what went wrong with the No. 22 Ford Mustang? 

“Yeah, I think just as the sun went down and the track cooled off, (we) lost some turn on our car," explained Logano. "Kevin (Harvick) and some others got a lot better the last couple of runs in the race. When it was hot and slick, that was probably our strength with the Shell Pennzoil Mustang. We had good turn and then once it cooled off we lost the turn but still weren’t real good on the exits.

"Then you start playing defense and running too hard. It was a downhill slope from there. I was hoping for a late race caution, that was our only prayer at the end there. Overall we got a stage win and playoff points and that is something to be proud of. It stinks when you say we led 222 laps but not the right one.”

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Logano was hoping to secure his third victory of the season, which would have catapulted him up into second in the playoff standings. Even still, it's a positive sign to run so well with the postseason just around the corner.

“It means we are executing really well throughout the race and able to get something out of a race when we don't have a fast enough car," he said post-race. "When you have days like today when you have a fast enough car, you want to capitalize. We did as far as playoff points and a stage win but not enough at the end of the race. We need these ones to be race wins instead of just stage wins but I feel like we are starting to come into our own here and getting a little more solid and situated more in the top five than we have been. I am proud of that. We just have to keep that going.”

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