Engine issues at Chicagoland put Joey Logano and his Penske Racing team in a deep hole for the Chase. They were able to get a little bit out of last week’s 14th place finish, he was aided by Kasey Kahne’s problems to get out of the basement to 12th place in points.
Sunday at the Dover International Speedway, Logano came home third in the AAA 400. It was his first top-5/top-10 finish since a second place finish at Atlanta four races ago.
“We are concerned about points because we’re in the Chase and we’re not out of it yet. I just saw we’re 66 points back now so we gained a couple, which isn’t many, but these are the days we’ve got to have. We’re back on track. The last three weeks have been a little tougher for us and coming here to Dover, my favorite race track, this Shell/Pennzoil team did everything they had to do to get that Ford up front and get closer,” Logano told reporters after finishing the race.
The issue Logano had was a car that wasn’t good for the short term, but the long term runs. He was aided by a long stretch of green flag laps just before the end of the race.
“Our biggest issue is we didn’t take off with really good speed, but after 15-16-17 laps it came to me and it was really fast. It just took a little bit too long there on the last restart. I was able to get up to third, I was in the right lane, but by the time my car came to me I was too late. We were the fastest car the last six laps, but it doesn’t really matter when you can barely see the leaders. Unfortunately, that was our day, but, overall, we can’t be too disappointed with a third-place finish. It’s just that you always want to be a little better,” Logano explained.
Building confidence is what Logano and his team need to do. Capitalizing on the momentum they get from the third place finish will be key to how they finish the Chase off.
“Momentum is built back up. Richmond, Chicago and then Loudon weren’t our best races. At Chicago we had a fast car, but we blew up there. Really, if we had that Chicago race back, we’d be in the mix for this championship. Unfortunately, those things happen, but we’re slowly but surely making up from that right now,” commented Logano.
The Hollywood Casino 400 is next up from the Kansas Speedway for the Sprint Cup Series. The action gets underway Sunday, October 6th, at 2:00 PM EST and can be seen live on ESPN.