Joey Logano: Losing on Daytona Road Course "stings a lot"

Almost any way you look at it, Joey Logano put in a great performance Sunday on the Daytona Road Course. Almost.

He finished second in Stage 1 and third in Stage 2 and was one of the few cars able to keep pace with Chase Elliott, who led 44 of the first 57 laps of the race.

Logano, 30, ended the race as runner-up and sits second in the NASCAR Cup Series standings after the first two races of the season.

A solid day – except for the fact he appeared to have his first race victory of 2021 in hand with one lap to go.

Going through the frontstretch chicane before the start of the final lap, Christopher Bell powered past Logano and into the lead and left Logano and his No. 22 Penske Ford fighting to hold off third-place Denny Hamlin at the finish.

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“Honestly, that’s what it comes down to, is one lap. Could have made the difference. You hate being that close, but at the same time I look at where we’ve come from,” he said. “We had a really solid race.

“We were two solid stages, second and third in the stages, a second overall. That’s a great day any way you look at it. It’s just getting passed coming to the white flag stings a lot.

“Congratulations to Christopher, obviously, his first win. That one is very special. The way he did it was very impressive. Just stings a little bit for me at the moment if I’m being honest.”

Logano moved into the lead on Lap 58 for the first time when NASCAR called a caution to allow teams to change to wet weather tires if they chose.

The rain stopped almost as soon as it started. Several lead-lap cars elected to pit for new slick tires but Logano and a host of others stayed on the track and he inherited the lead.

Logano remained out front until Bell’s pass except for one brief trade of the lead with Kurt Busch on Lap 62.

“Once again, we were in contention to win. We’re doing the right things. Look at the Duel. We almost won. Clash we finished third. Daytona 500 we were leading on the last lap, crash. Then you come here, you’re leading with one to go, get passed,” Logano said.

“We’re there. I think we’re doing a good job. When I think of the execution of this race team, we’re doing all the right things. We just got to get a little bit faster. That’s the biggest thing that I see right now. Not that we’re far off, right?

“We’re right there in the hunt. But I’d say we’re outperforming the car at this moment. We just got to get our car a little better.”

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