Loudon II: Joey Logano race report

Logano Finishes 32nd in Sprint Cup Series Debut The goals for Joey Logano in his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race were simple: stay out of trouble, gain valuable experience, earn the respect of the veteran drivers and finish as many laps as...

Logano Finishes 32nd in Sprint Cup Series Debut

The goals for Joey Logano in his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race were simple: stay out of trouble, gain valuable experience, earn the respect of the veteran drivers and finish as many laps as possible.

All were accomplished as Logano finished 32nd in the Sylvania 300, completing 297 of the 300 laps in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

The 18-year-old, who grew up in three hours from Loudon in Middletown, Conn., started 40th, but moved to 33rd just 12 laps into the race. However, just past the 15-lap mark, Logano began fighting a tight handling condition on his No. 96 Home Depot/DLP HDTV Toyota Camry. That became the story of his day, as he and the Home Depot/DLP HDTV team could not seem to find the combination that would successfully combat the ill-handling car.

"It was a tough one," Logano said. "We tried hard, but it just wasn't there the whole time. Deep down inside I really wanted a better finish than that. After our practice session at Richmond (last week), I thought we were going to have a lot better race car than that. We just missed it. We got close to where we needed to be -- just too late in the race and we weren't able to work on it from there."

Logano, who will drive the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry full-time in 2009 for Joe Gibbs Racing, had a Sprint Cup Series debut that was in line with the debuts of such renowned drivers as Jeff Gordon (31st at Atlanta in November 1992), Jimmie Johnson (39th at Charlotte in October 2001) and Busch (41st at Las Vegas in March 2004).

A bright spot for Logano is that he completed all but three laps in Sunday's race, while Gordon, Johnson and Busch each were involved in accidents in their debut events and did not finish their respective races.

"I learned a lot and I'll take a lot from this for when we come back here next time," Logano said. "I just wish we would've had a little better run than that. I learned there's a lot of give and take out there. Again, there's a lot of take -- believe me. We learned a lot, so we'll just have to take what we got."

Logano is scheduled to drive five more Sprint Cup races in 2008, one for Joe Gibbs Racing in the No. 02 Home Depot Toyota at Atlanta, and four for Hall of Fame Racing in the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota at Kansas, Charlotte, Martinsville and Texas.

With the 32nd-place finish, the No. 96 Hall of Fame Racing entry remains 39th in the series' owner standings with 1,771 points, 262 markers behind the 35th-place No. 7 of Robby Gordon Motorsports.

Greg Biffle won the Sylvania 300 to score his 13th career Sprint Cup victory, his first of the season and his first at New Hampshire. Johnson finished .505 of a second behind Biffle in the runner-up slot, while Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr., rounded out the top-five. Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were eight caution periods for 37 laps, with six drivers failing to finish the 300-lap race.

-credit: jgr

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Robby Gordon , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr. , Carl Edwards , Denny Hamlin , Joey Logano
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing , Robby Gordon Motorsports , Hall of Fame Racing