Sunday, April 30, 2017

Joey Logano races from last to first at Richmond International Raceway




Credit: Carol D'Agostino for Skirts and Scuffs
By Carol D’Agostino

The Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway started in the shadows of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement announcement. However, when the white flag waved nearly 3 ½ hours later, it was Joey Logano who stole the headlines and took his No. 22 Pennzoil Ford car to Victory Lane.

Logano literally raced from the back to the front due to a transmission change prior to the race. For Logano it was his 18th Monster Energy Series win in 300 starts. This is his first victory and eighth top-10 finish in 2017, and his second victory and ninth top-10 finish in 17 races at Richmond.

Logano becomes the fifth driver in series history to win in his 300th start joining Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Rusty Wallace.

Although they didn’t have the fastest car all day, crew chief Todd Gordon credited pit strategy and good execution by both the crew and the driver for the win.

“It was a hot slick day and no one’s car was good,” he said. “We got better as the race went on. It was a matter of good execution. We put ourselves in position where we could take advantage over our short run speed. We focused forward."

For Logano, starting from the back wasn’t as monumental as being told by his crew chief that he needed to be patient and run at 80 percent.

“I am not wired to go 80 percent, but there is a time to go and a time to whoa. We were able to play those cards at the right time today,” Logano said. “We have such a strong team. We are resilient. You can push us back, but you can’t put us down."

It was a one-two finish for Team Penske in both NASCAR and Verizon IndyCar Series this weekend. Today Brad Keselowski came in second. Rounding out the top five were Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kevin Harvick. Pole sitter Matt Kenseth, who led the most laps with 164, finished 23rd, never recovering after cutting a tire.

As the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rolls into Talladega Superspeedway for race number 10 Kyle Larson is holding his lead in the driver standings. Martin Truex Jr. sits second with Chase Elliott in third. Race winner Joey Logano is fourth and teammate Brad Keselowski is fifth.

Credit: Carol D'Agostino for Skirts and Scuffs

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