Phoenix II: Joey Logano race report

GameStop Racing Team and Driver Joey Logano Wins Pole and Grabs Third-Place Finish at Phoenix International Raceway Joey Logano accomplished one of his season-long goals this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. In qualifying for Saturday's...

GameStop Racing Team and Driver Joey Logano Wins Pole and Grabs Third-Place Finish at Phoenix International Raceway

Joey Logano accomplished one of his season-long goals this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. In qualifying for Saturday's Wypall 200 at the one-mile oval, Logano drove his No. 20 GameStop Toyota to the pole position. The pole was Logano's seventh top qualifying spot of the year, earning him the season-long award for poles in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Unfortunately, Logano's race didn't play out with the same success. Despite leading the race's first 23 laps, Logano had to settle for a third-place finish at the race's end. The third was Logano's 15th top-five finish and 23rd top 10 in just 24 races. It also marked Logano's 21st-straight top-10 finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

After grabbing the pole, Logano jumped out in front of the field and led the first 23 laps before a caution brought the field to pit road. Logano and the GameStop team got out first of the cars that took four tires, but several slower cars forced Logano to check up on the ensuing restart, and the No. 20 fell back to fourth. Logano worked his way back up to third before another round of pit stops on lap 64.

All afternoon, Logano was fighting a loose car early in the run that would turn tight as the run continued on. Crew Chief Kevin Kidd made several chassis adjustments throughout the race to get the car running better, getting Logano back into the top-three.

A slow pit stop because of a dropped lug nut on lap 118 put Joey back to sixth, the furthest back he found himself all afternoon long. However, the final 55-lap green-flag run saw Joey climb from sixth to fifth to fourth and past newly crowned NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion Brad Keselowski into the top three before the checkers flew.

Joey Logano Thoughts:

"It was an alright day with the GameStop Toyota. We were so-so. We didn't have a bad car, but we didn't have a car that was going to compete with Carl. He was in a league of his own out there today. The car was good enough at the end that we were running about the same times as he was, but we weren't really gaining anything. We were catching the (No.) 33, but we just didn't have the track position. I think if we would have had a late caution and been able to make one more change and get our last set of tires, we would have had a chance for second. And you never know what could have happened late. We would have gone for the win, that's for sure.

"Carl just had all of us beaten today. I don't think there was a car out there that could run with him. We really got the car better. We just lacked track position. That is so important with these cars and if you are out front, you are just that much better. The car was good, but we just weren't close enough to the front to do anything that we could have.

"I'm really pumped about getting the pole and locking up the deal for the most poles of the season. That was a goal of ours coming into the season and to get seven poles while only running 24 races is a pretty big deal. That is cool. That says a lot about this team. We went out there and put up a great lap. Not only was that my seventh pole, but the eighth for the team this year (Denny Hamlin scored the other). Maybe we can go out there and Homestead and get number eight.

Kevin Kidd:

"First off, I'm really proud of Joey and all of the guys after getting the pole this morning and wrapping up the season-long pole award. That really goes to show the hard work and dedication of these guys. Seven poles for Joey in just 24 races is a pretty impressive feat. That is why Joey is one of the best racers out there on the track, and I always have the utmost confidence in him to get the job done.

"In the race, we were good, but just not strong enough. We had finally gotten the car to the point that it was really good for Joey. We were just hoping for one more caution to make one more adjustment and to get our last set of tires. You never like to finish a race with a set of tires in the pits, because you know that is one more stop you could have had and one more round of adjustments you could have made. That is what I felt about today. One more adjustment to the car, and we were going to be a second-place car for sure and maybe even get up there to run with Carl (Edwards). I don't know if we would have beat Carl, but we would have given him a run for his money."

What's Next:

The No. 20 GameStop Toyota will finish off the season next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Ford 300, a part of Championship Weekend in Miami.

-source: jgr

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Drivers Denny Hamlin , Joey Logano