Monday, June 4, 2012

Gibbs Garage: Joey Logano leads Joe Gibbs Racing drivers with 8th place finish at Dover

 Hamlin & Logano during pace laps at Dover
Photo by Beth Bence Reinke/Skirts and Scuffs
Joey Logano rolled off 11th in the Dover Sprint Cup race, his best career starting spot at the track. The No. 20 was loose for much of the race, yet Logano kept it near the front for the whole event. The Home Depot pit crew did a fantastic job all race long, gaining track position on every single pit stop. “Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) made some good calls to make the car a lot better by the end of the race and the pit crew was unbelievable today,” Logano said.

During cautions, Logano encountered two strange incidents where the car shut off by itself, and the second time he lost spots before getting it refired. He felt that loss of positions cost him a top-five finish. Logano finished 8th for his fourth top 10 of the 2012 season.

In post-race comments, Logano said: “With a few more laps I could have gotten a couple of the cars in front of me but there were a couple of cars coming behind us with fresh tires. So I’m happy we were able to get an eighth even though our Home Depot Toyota was better than that.”

Checking tires after a pit stop
Photo by Beth Bence Reinke/Skirts and Scuffs
Kyle Busch ran up front until almost the halfway mark when he had to return to pit road to tighten a couple of loose lug nuts. Shortly after that incident he lost his engine and was done for the day.

“Unfortunately we had a valve spring break (in the engine) and then dropped the valve, which hit the pistons,” Busch said in a post-race interview. “It’s real unfortunate. You know, we had good car. We were running up front there. We were biding our time trying to see if we couldn't keep up with the racetrack.”

Denny Hamlin has never finished better than 4th at Dover and it’s not one of his best tracks. “Dover is one place that I have yet to completely figure out…” he said.

After starting 10th, Hamlin fought an ill-handling car much of the race, going from tight to loose, making it tough to pass. He eventually lost a lap, but got it back as the free pass with 38 to go, and finished 18th. The No. 11 car featured the puzzle pieces Autism Speaks paint scheme.

Points standings for the JGR drivers after Dover: 
Denny Hamlin – 4rd (-1)
Kyle Busch – 9th (-1)
Joey Logano – remains in 16th

Beth Bence Reinke writes "Gibbs Garage," Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup team recaps, for the 2012 season. Her Skirts and Scuffs column, “Faith on the Frontstretch,” explores the role of faith in motorsports. Beth is the author of Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a devotional book geared toward female NASCAR fans. Follow Beth on Twitter at @bbreinke or reach her


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