The Finish: Joey Logano and the No. 20 GameStop Toyota ran in the top-10 all night in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Kentucky Speedway and things were looking good when Logano crossed the start/finish line in fourth place as the white flag flew. Unfortunately though, Logano was one lap short from making it to the end on fuel and coasted around the 1.5-mile track, crossing the line in 10th-place.
The Race Recap: Coming into Friday, Logano and the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team had high hopes for the Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Logano was coming off of a win last week at Daytona International Speedway and was the three-time defending winner at Kentucky Speedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Logano’s streak of three-straight poles at the track was snapped in qualifying when the No. 20 GameStop Toyota qualified fourth for Friday night’s event. When the green flag flew, Logano tucked into fifth and rode for the first portion of the event. All night long, Logano fought handling issues and made several stops to correct them. Crew Chief Adam Stevens made great calls in the pits, getting the No. 20 GameStop Toyota handling the best it had near the end of the night. With 40 laps to go and Logano cruising in the back half of the top-10, the race turned into a fuel mileage event. Stevens told Logano to “conserve” as much fuel as he could. As the laps wound down, several of the front-running competitors began to pit for fuel or run out on the track. Logano and the No. 20 team decided to gamble and try and make it to the finish. When the white flag flew, Logano found himself running fourth. However, just as he crossed the start/finish line, the engine in the No. 20 Toyota sputtered and Logano radioed he was out of fuel. The 21-year-old was able to get the car back to the checkered flag, but not before falling from fourth to 10th in the final lap.
Joey’s Quotes: “There isn’t much to say about the end of that race. We didn’t have anything to lose. We are not racing for points. We are just racing for wins. So we knew it was going to be close and we decided to just go for it. Adam (Stevens) said we were about four laps short, so I was doing all I could to save fuel. And I thought we were going to make it there at the end. We were in fourth and things were looking good. But just as we were getting ready to cross the line to get the white, the car started to cut out and then it just cut off completely. I got the car down and just willed it to make sure it crossed the line. It killed me to see all of those guys pass us while we were just coasting back, but when you have no power there is nothing you can do. We took a chance and it almost paid off. We were just about a lap and a half short.
“We had an ok GameStop Toyota tonight. We struggled with the handle at the beginning but fixed it with a number of adjustments all night long. Heck, we threw the kitchen sink at it one time and changed air pressure, took some wedge out and put in a spring rubber. Finally, we got the balance good, but we just lacked the all-around grip we were looking for. That and we were still just struggling for speed. We didn’t have a car to compete for the win tonight, but we were better than 10th where we finished. But when you take chances like we did tonight, and that was the right thing to try, that is what happens. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. In this position, we’d do it every time. We are here to win races and that is what we were trying to do tonight.
“It sucks to see the streak here at Kentucky come to an end, but it was going to happen at some point. There are just too many good cars out here. If nothing else though, that just means we can work on starting a new streak here next year. Maybe we can start a streak here in the Sprint Cup race tomorrow as well.”
What’s Next: The No. 20 GameStop Toyota will head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway next Saturday for the New England 200 at Logano’s home track on the Nationwide Series schedule, located in Loudon, NH.