FONTANA, Calif.— Joey Logano was hoping to have a picture perfect day At Auto Club Speedway in Southern California. However, when the Service King 300 began, the day saw its highs and lows.
Logano started from the pole position to lead 31 laps in the opening stage. However, the caution flew for a spin by Matt Tifft on lap. Logano led the field down pit road for four tires and fuel. Logano beat the field off pit road. However, Logano was caught for speeding on pit road in sections two through nine.
Logano was in shock that he was caught speeding. Because the cars of not have speedometers, drivers rely on the RPM’s when they enter pit road. NASCAR allows a five mile per hour tolerance for speeding on pit road.
Logano started at the tail end of the longest line in the 35th position.. When the race restarted, Logano began his charge towards the front.
He worked his way towards the second position at the conclusion of the second stage.
When the third stage began, Logano was running up front before more trouble on pit road plagued him.
Logano has more trouble on pit road towards the end of the race. On the pit stop, the jack fell off on the left side with all the tires off of the car. The team had to petition NASCAR to allow them to use a second jack to jack the car up. The request was granted and the team finished the pit stop.
Logano and his crew chief were not happy with what occurred on pit road, but were happy they stayed on the lead lap and suffered minimal damage.
Logano started at the end of the lead lapped cars in 25th., but once again, quickly moved towards the front. When the caution flew for a hit by Cole Custer, the leaders pitted and Logano moved up to third position.
On the restart, he gave Kyle Busch a push to move to the second position. He kept pushing and battling Busch for the lead for a couple laps. Logano was able to grab the lead with 32 laps remaining and set sail.
Logano used Busch as a cushion from Kyle Larson. Larson was on fresher tires than Logano. Busch made contact with the wall and dropped back moving Larson to second. Larson was closing in about two-tenths every lap. Larson grabbed the lead for a moment, but Logano grabbed it back.
After Logano grabbed the lead, Larson hit the wall, but lost momentum. When the momentum was regained by Larson, he made his charge back to Logano. However as they battled for the lead, the lapped car 99 went in front of Logano slowing him down.
Luckily, the caution flew for Brandon Jones, who hit the wall. On the pit stop, Logano took four tires and fuel, but lost one position as Spencer Gallagher only took two tires and fuel.
On the restart, Larson took the high side leaving Logano with Gallagher in front of him. Gallagher did not go on the restart. Logano was boxed in, but was able to get past Gallagher. Logano battled with Busch, but cleared him as Busch did not have the short run speed. Logano had momentum in the closing lap to get the win, but came up 0.127 seconds short to finish second.
“I don’t know about that move. That wasn’t a good move. I don’t know what they were thinking, but that maybe wasn’t the best play at this race track. I knew he was gonna spin them,” said Logano about being boxed in by Gallagher. “There’s no way he couldn’t. It wasn’t his fault. He was a sitting duck and I was a sitting duck behind him that lost too much track position on that restart being too far behind Kyle. If not for that, we would have probably been door-to-door across the line bumping and banging or something. We were able to catch Larson the last few laps. We were definitely faster, but I needed another lap, maybe two.”
When Logano was asked about how he made the moves from back to the front, he stated, “More throttle and less brake usually makes you go faster. It was just getting in the right line at the right time and keeping the momentum. That’s what this XFINITY racing is – and anytime you go to a big two-mile race track it’s all about mo and keeping that momentum going and we were able to keep that rolling while the cars were side-by-side and stuff like that. We were able to keep the momentum going.”
Logano finished second giving the No. 22 Team Penske Ford 33 owner points, moving the team to 33 points ahead of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing entry. Logano lead the Service King 300 six times for 70 laps.