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Logano Gets Penske A Cup Victory In Michigan

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, August 18 2013

Joey Logano won at Michigan on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Brian Lawdermilk)

Joey Logano buzzed past a fuel-less Mark Martin for the lead with four laps to go and went on to win Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.

The victory was the first of the year for Logano, who moved to Penske Racing from Joe Gibbs Racing, for the 2013 season. It came from the pole position and was built upon a race-best 52 laps led.

“You have no idea,” Logano said when as asked what the victory meant to him. “This is so cool.”

Logano, fighting for a berth in the Chase, moved from 16th up to 13th place in points. The victory also gives him wild card berth hopes.

“I think the key is being consistent,” Logano said about making the Chase. “It is something Todd (Gordon, his crew chief) and I talk about before each weekend on how we will approach the weekend and how aggressive we need to be. We decided we needed a win a couple of weeks ago. So we got one. That is what we wanted to do. We should decide to get more wins. Maybe we will win more. We were trying to figure out how aggressive we needed to be and I am sure it is a conversation we will have this week. As long as we are consistent and keep knocking off top-10’s like this team has been doing, if we get another win yeah it will really help us but it is definitely a great help for our Chase hopes.”

Finishing second was Kevin Harvick of Richard Childress Racing.

Kurt Busch of Furniture Row Racing was third while Paul Menard, Harvick’s teammate, was fourth.

Fifth was Clint Bowyer in a Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.

Rouding out the top 10 were Marcos Ambrose, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Burton, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards.

Points leader Jimmie Johnson’s points lead got smaller when he was sent to the garages with an apparent engine problem.

“Coming down the back straightaway I felt it drop a couple of cylinders and knew we were in trouble,” he said. “So brought it to pit road and unfortunately it finally broke all the way and locked up. It would be nice to have salvaged something and maybe pulled the down cylinder parts out you know the valve train parts out and get back out on the track, but the engine didn’t live long enough once it broke. These things break pretty quick and that was the end of it.”

Bowyer’s finish moved him from 75 points behind Johnson to 41 points back in second place with three races to go until the start of the Chase.

Not bad considering an early race incident could have knocked Bowyer further back in Chase chase pecking order. Asked how he was able to pull out a top-five finish, Bowyer scratched his head.

“Beats the hell out of me,” Bowyer said. “Man, what a long day. Spinning out on the first lap I’m like – I couldn’t figure out – a lot of times you just know that you’re hanging it out too much and trying to get too much out of it and you wreck on your own. I didn’t think that was the case. I was trying to get around the 2 (Brad Keselowski), felt good, wide open, good ‘ole girl stuck and all the sudden it wasn’t stuck and away I went.

“All these guys they just don’t give up. That’s what I love about this team, this organization. That’s why we’re where we’re at in thepoints. Obviously, we want to start winning races, but those days like that are what win championships. You’ve got to be able to make good out of a bad situation and certainly we just kept working and kept working and kept working to get better and better and finally ended up with a top-five. Unbelievable.”

MIS, a 2-mile oval located in the town of Brooklyn, was once owned by Roger Penske, the current owner of Logano’s No. 22 Ford.

Penske said his driver’s win on Sunday was special.

“As I go back 30 years or so at this track this is one of the biggest wins,” Penske said. “With Joey coming on board and his first win in the Shell Pennzoil car and our relationship now with Ford. It is my home state, home track and Detroit is my city. You couldn’t put it all together like we did today.

To have Joey on board with Brad (Keselowski) it is a team effort. Todd (Gordon) and Paul Wolfe (Keselowski’s crew chief) is a team effort. Brad even said today that Joey had a better car and they want to put a couple of his setups on. They are working together and it is a team effort. We have been lacking on delivering what we said we would deliver when they (Ford Racing officials) signed us up. It makes me feel pretty good that at least we can shake their hand in victory lane.”

Martin was attempting to win for the first time since 2009. Had he had a bit more fuel – or gotten a late caution – he likely would have done it.

“We knew we needed one more yellow,” Martin, who had a healthy lead with five laps to go. “I saved a lot of gas. Just stayed ahead of Joey there, but if he would have slowed down I could have maybe saved enough. I had to go that fast. I had more speed in the car, but just was trying to stay in the lead.

“Well, we did save a ton already. We started out six laps short. We only needed one more yellow flag and you know you usually get them in NASCAR racing. Kudos to Rodney Childers (crew chief) and everybody on the Aaron’s Dream Machine. The car was hooked up today and out front there we were just pedaling it just enough to stay out in front of Joey and we saved a bunch of gas, but we needed one more yellow. If we would have gotten one more yellow, we would have been in good shape.”

Busch’s finish lifted him two positions in the driver standings – from 11th to ninth. He is two points out of eighth and six ahead of 11th. The top-10 drivers in points along with two wildcard entries qualify for the Chase.

The third-place finish was Busch’s second top-three in the past three races, third straight top-10 and his sixth top-five and 11th top-10 of the season.

“Here we are talking third place and that is what’s awesome about our effort today to bounce back from where we were at the first Michigan race (35th) and what we’ve learned since June to be where we are now,” said Busch. “Teams have to move quickly to find technology and this little team keeps continuing to do that. Call these guys a big team – Furniture Row Racing. This is awesome. Thanks to them and everybody who keeps putting their hand on this Furniture Row/Serta Chevrolet to put us in Chase position.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – Pure Michigan 400

Michigan International Speedway

Brooklyn, Michigan

Sunday, August 18, 2013

1. (1) Joey Logano, Ford, 200, $252393.

2. (15) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 200, $180731.

3. (2) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 200, $136315.

4. (20) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 200, $143486.

5. (11) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 200, $140293.

6. (26) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 200, $123399.

7. (31) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 200, $108135.

8. (5) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 200, $106135.

9. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 200, $105435.

10. (19) Carl Edwards, Ford, 200, $127110.

11. (6) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 200, $119549.

12. (9) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 200, $139151.

13. (21) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 200, $123568.

14. (27) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 200, $131510.

15. (12) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 200, $124676.

16. (17) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 200, $119535.

17. (13) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 200, $130346.

18. (14) Aric Almirola, Ford, 200, $123621.

19. (22) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #, Ford, 200, $132621.

20. (8) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 200, $103460.

21. (18) Trevor Bayne(i), Ford, 200, $85660.

22. (29) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 200, $111680.

23. (28) Danica Patrick #, Chevrolet, 200, $85010.

24. (24) David Ragan, Ford, 200, $110868.

25. (33) Casey Mears, Ford, 200, $109043.

26. (36) David Stremme, Toyota, 200, $98093.

27. (4) Mark Martin, Toyota, 199, $96835.

28. (38) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, 198, $102718.

29. (34) Timmy Hill #, Ford, 198, $89932.

30. (42) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 197, $81785.

31. (10) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 197, $125568.

32. (43) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 197, $80060.

33. (39) Brendan Gaughan(i), Chevrolet, 196, $87985.

34. (37) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, 192, $79885.

35. (30) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 186, $87735.

36. (7) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 171, $97685.

37. (23) David Gilliland, Ford, Engine, 165, $79616.

38. (25) David Reutimann, Toyota, 153, $74825.

39. (40) Josh Wise(i), Ford, Vibration, 56, $70825.

40. (3) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, Engine, 54, $115936.

41. (32) Scott Speed, Ford, Vibration, 35, $62825.

42. (41) Johnny Sauter(i), Ford, Vibration, 34, $58825.

43. (35) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, Accident, 12, $55325.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 144.593 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 45 Mins, 59 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.018 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 9 for 34 laps.

Lead Changes: 20 among 13 drivers.

Lap Leaders: J. Logano 0; Kurt Busch 1-5; J. Logano 6-32; Kurt Busch 33-41; D. Earnhardt Jr. 42; J. Johnson 43-45; M. Ambrose 46; T. Bayne(i) 47; D. Hamlin 48-51; C. Mears 52-53; D. Earnhardt Jr. 54-72; D. Hamlin 73-77; Kurt Busch 78-106; B. Keselowski 107; D. Ragan 108; G. Biffle 109-136; D. Gilliland 137; J. Logano 138-157; B. Keselowski 158-173; M. Martin 174-196; J. Logano 197-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Logano 3 times for 51 laps; Kurt Busch 3 times for 43 laps; G. Biffle 1 time for 28 laps; M. Martin 1 time for 23 laps; D. Earnhardt Jr. 2 times for 20 laps; B. Keselowski 2 times for 17 laps; D. Hamlin 2 times for 9 laps; J. Johnson 1 time for 3 laps; C. Mears 1 time for 2 laps; T. Bayne(i) 1 time for 1 lap; D. Ragan 1 time for 1 lap; D. Gilliland 1 time for 1 lap; M. Ambrose 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 12 in Points: J. Johnson – 813; C. Bowyer – 772; C. Edwards – 762; K. Harvick – 749; Kyle Busch – 706; M. Kenseth – 688; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 679; Brad Keselowski – 667; Kurt Busch – 665; G. Biffle – 663; K. Kahne – 659; M. Truex Jr. – 653.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, August 18 2013
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