Logano becomes seventh different winner this season
By Amanda Vincent
The Sports Xchange
FORT WORTH, Texas — Joey Logano’s four new tires bettered the two taken by Jeff Gordon and Brian Vickers in the final two laps of the Duck Commander 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Monday.
“It feels good to be back in victory lane, the Chase. I’m stoked,” Logano said. “I felt very confident about this race. For some reason, I told (crew chief) Todd Gordon — I said, ‘We’re gonna win this week,’ and I was mad when we didn’t get the pole, but I felt like we had a car that could win this thing today.”
Logano took the lead from Gordon on the final lap after a green-white-checker to claim the win in the race that was delayed a day because of rain, becoming the seventh different Sprint Cup winner this season.
Gordon finished second, Kyle Busch was third after starting the race back in 29th, Vickers finished fourth and rookie Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five.
Kurt Busch made contact with the wall with just over a lap remaining of the race’s scheduled 334-lap distance, bringing out a caution that resulted in a green-white-checker restart. At the point of caution, Logano was the leader, with his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski in second.
Everyone on the lead lap pitted during the caution, with Gordon and Vickers getting off pit road first and second after changing only two tires.
“That was a great call,” Gordon said. “We lost the handling a little bit when the sun came out. We were looking at about a sixth-place finish, there. We were really happy to see that caution, and I think we learned a lesson in California when we took four there that maybe we would have been better off taking two.”
Logano and Keselowski were the first two off pit road with four, but Keselowski was penalized for speeding on pit road. In the end, Keselowski wound up 15th.
“That last caution was a shame,” Keselowski said. “I was just trying to get a little too much on pit road and wanted to get us out front to be able to win the race and tried a little too hard.”
Logano got by Vickers as soon as the race restarted, and got by Gordon a little over a lap later.
Logano was dominant in the last third of the race after taking the lead from Keselowski on a restart that followed a lap 220-caution. During long green-flag runs, Logano would pull away from the field. At the 300-lap mark, Logano had a lead of nearly five seconds over then-second place Keselowski.
But, soon after, Keselowski pitted under green a lap before Logano, and by the time both had pitted, Logano’s lead was significantly smaller. Still, Logano remained up front the rest of the way, as Keselowski and Gordon raced for second behind him.
Logano was the lap leader, leading 108 laps. Keselowski also spent significant time up front, leading 85 laps, mostly through the middle portion of the race. Early in the race, though, Tony Stewart was a mainstay up front. Stewart started on the pole and led a total of 74 laps early before getting passed for the lead by Keselowski on lap 77.
For many of the laps Stewart was up front, Carl Edwards ran second, but both eventually faded, with Stewart falling well outside the top-10 and Edwards falling off the lead lap. Stewart did recover, though, to finish 10th.
The race started under yellow, as track-drying efforts were still underway. During the 10 caution laps at the start of the race, several drivers, including Keselowski, had an issue with air from the jet dryers blowing car hoods up slightly. Drivers who pitted to fix the problem were returned to their original starting spots before the race went green.
Shortly after the field got back up to speed, Dale Earnhardt Jr. accidentally got into the grass and his car shot up the track into the wall and caught fire on lap 13. Debris from the incident hit Jimmie Johnson’s car, causing significant damage to the windshield. Earnhardt was retired from the race, while Johnson was able to continue after going several laps down because of time spent on pit road for repairs.
“Just didn’t see the grass,” Earnhardt said. “Didn’t know the grass was down there. With the way the A-post is on these cars, you can’t really see that good to that angle. I just didn’t have a good visual of where the apron and the grass was and got down in there pretty good.”
Earnhardt was one of only three drivers who didn’t finish the race, the other two being Kevin Harvick and Dave Blaney. Harvick’s day ended on lap 28 because of a mechanical issue.
“Something, apparently, happened with the engine right after that restart,” Harvick said. “The Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS was really fast. It’s frustrating. I don’t know what else I can say.”
Greg Biffle finished sixth, Matt Kenseth was seventh, Clint Bowyer eighth, Paul Menard ninth and Stewart 10th.
NOTES: Joey Logano became the seventh winner in seven races, so far, in 2014. ... It was Logano’s fourth-career Sprint Cup win. ... Even though Tony Stewart started on the pole, Kevin Harvick posted a record-breaking lap in qualifying. ... Team Penske has a total of 12 wins at Texas — seven in IndyCar, two in NASCAR Nationwide and three in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. ... Logano’s last lap pass for the win was the third last-lap winning pass of the season.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race - Duck Commander 500
Texas Motor Speedway
Fort Worth, Texas
Monday, April 7
1. (10) Joey Logano, Ford, 340, $561881.
2. (12) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 340, $364656.
3. (29) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 340, $289211.
4. (23) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 340, $238370.
5. (14) Kyle Larson #, Chevrolet, 340, $202865.
6. (4) Greg Biffle, Ford, 340, $196910.
7. (26) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 340, $192046.
8. (25) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 340, $174701.
9. (13) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 340, $163824.
10. (1) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 340, $190243.
11. (32) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 340, $147500.
12. (17) Aric Almirola, Ford, 340, $168306.
13. (6) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 340, $137770.
14. (5) Carl Edwards, Ford, 340, $143120.
15. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 340, $175053.
16. (8) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 340, $133815.
17. (15) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 340, $156729.
18. (18) Martin Truex Jr, Chevrolet, 340, $149723.
19. (7) Trevor Bayne(i), Ford, 339, $116240.
20. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 339, $146260.
21. (20) Austin Dillon #, Chevrolet, 339, $162251.
22. (39) David Gilliland, Ford, 339, $141773.
23. (33) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 339, $129898.
24. (22) Justin Allgaier #, Chevrolet, 339, $134573.
25. (16) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 338, $162051.
26. (31) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 338, $145140.
27. (24) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 338, $115690.
28. (21) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 338, $125748.
29. (27) Michael Annett #, Chevrolet, 337, $114162.
30. (28) Michael McDowell, Ford, 335, $101965.
31. (42) Cole Whitt #, Toyota, 335, $98540.
32. (30) Alex Bowman #, Toyota, 335, $100440.
33. (38) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 334, $98840.
34. (40) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 334, $95240.
35. (43) David Ragan, Ford, 334, $107790.
36. (41) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 333, $92990.
37. (37) Travis Kvapil, Ford, 332, $91889.
38. (34) David Reutimann, Ford, 332, $84865.
39. (11) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, Accident, 327, $80865.
40. (36) Parker Kligerman #, Toyota, Overheating, 313, $76865.
41. (35) Dave Blaney, Ford, Steering, 272, $72865.
42. (3) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, Engine, 28, $110173.
43. (19) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 12, $73640.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 134.191 mph.
Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 48 Mins, 02 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.476 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 7 for 49 laps.
Lead Changes: 18 among 9 drivers.
Lap Leaders: T. Stewart 1-24; K. Harvick 25; T. Stewart 26-50; R. Sorenson 51; T. Stewart 52-76; B. Keselowski 77-96; J. Gordon 97-98; B. Keselowski 99-121; D. Hamlin 122-140; J. Gordon 141-142; Kyle Busch 143-152; J. Gordon 153-183; B. Keselowski 184-225; J. Logano 226-299; D. Hamlin 300; C. Bowyer 301; J. Logano 302-334; J. Gordon 335-339; J. Logano 340;.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Logano 3 times for 108 laps; B. Keselowski 3 times for 85 laps; T. Stewart 3 times for 74 laps; J. Gordon 4 times for 40 laps; D. Hamlin 2 times for 20 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 10 laps; C. Bowyer 1 time for 1 lap; R. Sorenson 1 time for 1 lap; K. Harvick 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 16 in Points: J. Gordon - 259; M. Kenseth - 255; C. Edwards - 247; J. Logano - 235; Kyle Busch - 231; D. Earnhardt Jr. - 228; J. Johnson - 228; B. Keselowski - 218; B. Vickers - 205; P. Menard - 203; R. Newman - 202; A. Dillon # - 202; D. Hamlin - 197; T. Stewart - 189; K. Larson # - 187; G. Biffle - 187.