BROOKLYN, MI — Joey Logano said on Friday that he needed a win to have a chance to qualify for the Chase.
“We have been solid through the season and there is not doubt in my mind we should be like fifth in points,” Logano said Friday.
“We are a Chase caliber team and I feel like even a championship caliber team.”
Logano started off his weekend well at Michigan International Speedway by setting a new track record en route to winning the pole for Sunday’s 400-mile race.
That momentum carried over into the race as Logano led 27 of the race’s opening 50 laps.
Though varying tire and fuel strategies, time at the front of the field was dependent on when or when you didn’t pit.
As the end of the race closed, Logano found himself in contention for the win, however fuel was in question until a caution for the spinning car of Kyle Busch turned the race from an economy run for most, to an economy run for one.
The lone driver gambling on fuel was the No.55 of Mark Martin, who was potentially driving his final race for the Michael Waltrip team.
As the laps wound down, Martin’s fuel tank was getting lighter and lighter until it ran dry on the back-straightaway, handing the lead over to Logano.
Logano held off a hard charging Kevin Harvick over the final laps to win Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.
“This is a hard fought win,” Logano said after the race. “This 22 team in particular has gone through a lot this season and this is well deserved.
“It was up to me on that last restart. I had to be really aggressive to get by [Harvick] and knew what I had to do. And here we are.”
The win in the third of Logano’s career, his first of 2013 and his first with Penske Racing.
At this time one year ago, Logano began talks to jump in the No.22 car for Penske Racing.
“He reminds me of Rick Mears,” car owner Roger Penske said of Logano. “They way he gets after it and stands on the gas really does.”
By winning, Logano now sits thirteenth in the Sprint Cup standings. He still doesn’t have a hold on a provisional wildcard spot, but sitting one position behind current holder of the second wild card, Martin Truex Jr.
“I think we got to be consistent,” Logano said about the final three races heading into the Chase. “We kind of decided we needed to win a couple weeks ago so we got one.”
If Logano makes the Chase, it would be the first time in his five-year Sprint Cup career that the 23-year-old driver qualified for NASCAR’s post-season.
“We’re trying to figure out how aggressive we need to be. I’m sure that’s a conversation we’ll have this week,” Logano said.
“But, I think right now as long as we’re consistent and keep knocking-off top-fives and top-10s like this team has been doing, if we get another win it will really help us get into the Chase.”
Logano has never one on the upcoming three tracks in the Sprint Cup Series. However, he was in contention for the win in the spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway; the next stop on the schedule.
Bristol was also the sight of one of what Logano thinks was one of the more “building” moments of his 2013 season after his run-ins on and off the track.
“If that doesn’t toughen you up, nothing does,” Logano said about his run-ins with Denny Hamlin early in the season getting him ready for a potential Chase run.
“This team has been going through a lot this season. They don’t quit, they keep pushing hard. That’s what we got to keep on doing. We got to do that for years to come, not just for the rest of the season or the next four-or-five years.”
Pure Michigan 400 Unofficial Results
- Joey Logano
- Kevin Harvick
- Kurt Busch
- Paul Menard
- Clint Bowyer
- Marcos Ambrose
- Kasey Kahne
- Jeff Burton
- Greg Biffle
- Carl Edwards
- Juan Pablo Montoya
- Brad Keselowski
- Ryan Newman
- Austin Dillon
- Matt Kenseth
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Jeff Gordon
- Aric Almirola
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Denny Hamlin
- Trevor Bayne
- Jamie McMurray
- Dancia Patrick
- David Ragan
- Casey Mears
- David Stremme
- Mark Martin
- Travis Kvapil
- Timmy Hill
- Dave Blaney
- Kyle Busch
- Landon Cassill
- Brendan Gaughan
- Joe Nemechek
- Bobby Labonte
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- David Gilliland
- David Reutimann
- Josh Wise
- Jimmie Johnson
- Scott Speed
- Johnny Sauter
- JJ Yeley