The Race Recap: Joey Logano and the GameStop team had a strong run on Saturday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway, but fell one-spot short of earning their first-career top-five finish at the 2-mile oval. Logano brought the No. 20 GameStop/Cars 2: The Video Game Toyota home in the sixth position following the 250-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series event, his seventh top-10 finish during the 2011 season.
Logano started the day in the ninth position and raced his way up to seventh in the opening laps. A succession of three pit stops over a 20-lap span put Logano and the GameStop team as high as third and as low as 10th, but each time Logano was able to fight back to race his way into the top-five. Logano fought having a loose car for most of the day, but Crew Chief Adam Stevens made a number of positive adjustments and got the car working as good as it had all weekend long by the end of the event. With just 25 laps to go, Logano restarted the race from the fifth-position, but got shuffled to the back in the middle of several three-wide battles. After falling back to 11th, Logano raced his way back to the front over the final 20 laps, passing Mark Martin for sixth coming to the checkered flag.
Joey’s Quotes: “We had a solid day with the GameStop Toyota but unfortunately just missed getting that top-five. This is one track that I’ve struggled with in the past. We’ve always been a top-10 car, but we’ve never quite been a top-five car. Today, at the end of the race, I would say we were a top-five car for sure. That last restart just killed me though. We started on the bottom and a couple of guys got under us and we got stuck in the middle. When that happens, you just lose all momentum and we ended up 11th or 12th. Thankfully though, we had a good enough car at the end that I was able to make those positions back up. We had a great battle with Mark Martin and Elliot Sadler there at the end of the race for sixth, seventh and eighth. I had quite the drag race with Mark and I was able to nip him at the line and get sixth. But I would say our car was better than sixth today.
“I’m really proud of the pit crew and Adam (Stevens). The guys did awesome in the pits. We didn’t lose one spot and we were able to make up a few as the afternoon went on and that is big, especially on tracks like this where track position is so very important. And Adam made some great calls in the pits. At the start of the race, the car was just too loose and I couldn’t get into turn three at all. I would have to back my entry up and I lost a ton of speed in the middle and off. But Adam made adjustments on every stop and every one of them made the car better. By the end of the race, the car was the best it has been all weekend long. I thought we had a shot to maybe get a top-five or even get up there and race those Fords, but I just didn’t have a great restart.
“We are getting better, but we need to find a little more speed in our cars and in all of the Toyotas I think. The Fords just have all of us covered right now. We are gaining on it and we are getting better and better each week. Hopefully here in a few more races, we’ll be running up front and battling for wins. I’m ready to get the 20 car and GameStop back into Victory Lane. We’ve got Kentucky coming up and we’ve got a quite the streak going there. If we can get back into Victory Lane anywhere, it will be there at Kentucky.”
What’s Next: The No. 20 GameStop Toyota and Logano will be back in action in at Kentucky Speedway on Friday night, July 8th. Logano has won the last three NASCAR Nationwide Series events at Kentucky Speedway, all coming from the pole.