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NASCAR Cup Madison

Logano relishes third at Gateway after "going through hell"

Joey Logano didn’t win Sunday at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway nor even lead a lap but successfully managed to end his recent points slide.

Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang

Entering the Gateway race, Logano had finished 18th or worse in four of his previous five races and dropped from seventh to 14th in the NASCAR Cup standings.

He was looking for a good upturn of performance this past weekend, and while he never got to the lead, Logano’s No. 22 Penske Ford was among the most consistent throughout a very long and chaotic race.

Logano never strayed far from the top 10 and the flurry of late-race cautions helped him pull out a third-place finish – his best since his second at Martinsville, Va., in mid-April.

“I’m proud of the fight. We were mediocre – just outside the top-five all day long,” said Logano, who won the inaugural Cup race at Gateway last year. “There was a group of cars that were a tick better than us. Then we executed at the end and beat a few of them.

“We tried some new things from last year, and we learned some lessons. But overall: Good. We needed a solid run. We’ve been going through hell here lately.”

Logano was one of several teams to utilize a two-tire pit strategy during the race to gain track position. He ran as high as second in Sunday’s second stage. With the help of five restarts in the final 39 laps, Logano was able to rally from seventh to third.

“It’s nice to get a top-five, third place, and some points there in each stage,” he said. “Good day.”

Logano said he could see the promise of a strong weekend on Saturday when he ended up fastest in practice and all three Penske cars qualified in the top-10.

Logano started sixth while teammates Ryan Blaney and Austin Cindric lined up second and 10th, respectively.

“I think our cars have a lot of potential. We just need to tune it in a little better in qualifying. But in race trim, it seems pretty good,” Logano said after Saturday’s qualifying session.

“Strategy is still going to be a big deal. Hopefully, we hit all those numbers right, do all those things right, and then we’ll be in the hunt.”

As it turned out, he was.

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