Logano 5th after almost missing start in Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Joey Logano almost missed the start of the Sprint Cup race in Texas and was sent to the back of the field because of it.
Logano’s crew had to overhaul the rear end of his No. 22 Ford after a failed prerace inspection, and a race that started with a mad scramble just to get on the track somehow ended with a fifth-place finish Saturday night.
“If you’d told me I’d finish fifth today, I’d have given you a hug,” Logano said after Kyle Busch took the checkered flag. “I’m pumped up about our finish and the way we got that.”
Logano and Penske teammate Brad Keselowski were snagged by NASCAR over what owner Roger Penske said were issues with the rear axle. Keselowski’s crew didn’t have any trouble making the changes and he was on the starting grid in plenty of time.
But Logano’s car needed additional inspections and he wasn’t even in his car when former NBA great Karl Malone gave the command to fire up the engines, and he missed the first warm-up lap.
“It was a little too close for comfort to be honest with you,” Logano said.
His first break came when he got to join the lead lap on a caution on Lap 151, and suddenly found himself in third with about 50 laps to go. Logano never really had the speed to stay with front-runners Busch and Martin Truex Jr., and it showed when he couldn’t stay with the leaders on a restart from the fourth position without about 40 laps remaining.
But that hardly mattered.
“It was one of the toughest races I think we’ve ever dealt with, and to come home with a top-five out of something like that, we couldn’t be more excited about that,” Logano said.
Penalties could be coming for both teams. NASCAR confiscated parts and said they would be further evaluated in North Carolina next week. After the race, NASCAR said Keselowski’s car was flagged for further inspection again.
Keselowski, the defending Sprint Cup champion in the No. 2 Ford, finished ninth. He got to join the lead lap on a caution with 20 laps to go and moved into the top 10 with seven laps left.
“Obviously, we’re trying to get an edge on the competition so our guys are thinking and working hard,” Penske said. “They didn’t like what they saw in inspection and made us take it out. You saw how well we ran without it. So to me it’s a closed case.”