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Seven-for-Seven – Logano Wins Duck Commander 500

Seven-for-Seven – Logano Wins Duck Commander 500

by April 7, 2014 0 comments

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

FORT WORTH, Texas. — In a Texas-sized nailbiter of a finish, Joey Logano went from third to first on a green-white-checkered restart to win the Duck Commander 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway.

The win is the fourth of Logano’s career and is his first win of the season, making him the seventh different race winner in seven races. Logano led 108 of the 340 completed laps, the most out of any competitor in the field today.

“I felt very confident coming to this race,” Logano said in victory lane. “For some reason I told Todd [Gordon, Logano’s crew chief] before we came here, I said ‘we’re going to win this week’ and I was mad when we didn’t get the pole but I felt like we had a car that could win this thing today and in the beginning of the race, we didn’t. Then Todd and all of the guys made good adjustments, good stops all day, and then as I got one run – one longer run – it just came to me, I was able to drive up to fifth and get some cautions – be able to get our track position up towards the front – and then clean air means everything so…heck yeah!”

Logano looked as if he was set to cruise to victory lane in the late stages of the race, pulling ahead by multiple seconds over teammate Brad Keselowski in the closing laps. A lap-334 caution for debris from Kurt Busch scraping the wall in Turn 2 brought the caution out just as Logano was to cross the start/finish line for the white flag.

This set up a late round of pit stops as teams set their cars up with fresh Goodyear Eagles for a two-lap sprint to the finish. Two drivers elected to take two tires, the No. 24 of Jeff Gordon and the No. 55 of Brian Vickers, putting both cars on the front row to lead the field back to the green. Keselowski would be caught by NASCAR for speeding on pit-road and would wind up finishing in the 15th-position.

Gordon and crew chief Alan Gustafson’s gamble paid off as the team brought the No. 24 Axalta/Texas A&M Chevrolet SS home in second-place. With his performance, Gordon has taken over the lead in the Sprint Cup Series Drivers’ Standings.

“At one point, I thought we didn’t have a shot at all,” Gordon said. “We got a pretty good restart, Joey was right on me and I was pretty loose through 1 and 2 and I wish I would have gone a little bit higher in 3 and 4 but he got that run off of 4 and then he got in the back of me and I thought I was going to wreck, so at that point I was like ‘second would be good.'”

Gordon usurped the points lead from his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt made a mistake on the 12th lap of the race when he drove his car low enough on the frontstretch to catch the grass with his front splitter, damaging it. The damage sent the No. 88 team to an early retirement as Earnhardt pounded into the outside wall in a hard impact, setting the car on fire.

“Just didn’t see the grass. Didn’t know the grass was down there,” Earnhardt said. “With the way the A-post is on these cars you can’t really see that good to that angle. I just didn’t have a good visual of where the apron and the grass was and got down in there pretty good. You can’t run through there they way they have these cars on the ground like that. Just a mistake on my part. I just didn’t know I was that close to the grass, and made a mistake.”

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads off to South Carolina and the historic Darlington Raceway for Saturday night’s for the Bojangles’ Southern 500.

Top-10 Finishers of the Duck Commander 500

  1. 22 – Joey Logano – Ford – Team Penske
  2. 24 – Jeff Gordon – Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports
  3. 18 – Kyle Busch – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
  4. 55 – Brian Vickers – Toyota – Michael Waltrip Racing
  5. 42 – Kyle Larson# – Chevrolet – Chip Ganassi Racing
  6. 16 – Greg Biffle – Ford – Roush-Fenway Racing
  7. 20 – Matt Kenseth – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
  8. 15 – Clint Bowyer – Toyota – Michael Waltrip Racing
  9. 27 – Paul Menard – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
  10. 14 – Tony Stewart – Chevrolet – Stewart-Haas Racing

# = Rookie.

Top-10 in the Drivers’ Standings after Round 7 of 36

  1. 24 – Jeff Gordon – Hendrick Motorsports – 259 | Leader | +3
  2. 20 – Matt Kenseth – Joe Gibbs Racing – 255 | -4 | –
  3. 99 – Carl Edwards – Roush-Fenway Racing – 247 | -12 | –
  4. 22 – Joey Logano – Team Penske – 235 | -24 | +4
  5. 18 – Kyle Busch – Joe Gibbs Racing – 231 | -28 | +1
  6. 88 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Hendrick Motorsports – 228 | -31 | -5
  7. 48 – Jimmie Johnson – Hendrick Motorsports – 228 | -31 | -2
  8. 2 – Brad Keselowski – Team Penske – 218 | -41 | -1
  9. 55 – Brian Vickers – Michael Waltrip Racing – 205 | -54 | +4
  10. 27 – Paul Menard – Richard Childress Racing – 203 | -56 | +1

If the Chase started today, the field would be: Edwards, Logano, Ky. Busch, Earnhardt Jr., Keselowski, Ku. Busch, Harvick, Gordon, Kenseth, Johnson, Vickers, Menard, Newman, Dillon, Hamlin, Stewart

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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