Joey Logano Starts Season Out with Strong Ninth-Place Finish in Daytona 500

Post Race Highlights:

  • Logano started 12th for Monday’s rain-delayed Daytona 500 as a result of a sixth-place finish in the Gatorade Duels last Thursday. Logano qualified 22nd in last Sunday’s Daytona 500 qualifying session
  • Logano proved to be one of the strongest cars all race long in the 500. Logano never fell out of the top-10 until just before the halfway point, when Logano and several other cars, including Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch, dropped to the back of the pack to avoid possibly getting involved in a multi-car accident amongst those racing for the halfway bonus money.
  • All race long, the Home Depot pit crew performed stellar pit stops. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff made a number changes throughout the night, including air pressure and track bar adjustments to help the handling of the Home Depot Toyota.
  • On lap 144, Logano took the lead for the first time and help the top spot for two laps. It was the first laps Logano has ever led in the Daytona 500.
  • Logano logged laps until lap 160, when a lengthy red flag was brought out by an accident under the caution period. The two-plus hour delay allowed Logano and Ratcliff to come up with a strategy for the race’s final 40 laps.
  • Logano ran in the top-five during the final laps before falling back to 13th when he failed to maintain pace car speed while trying to save fuel by shutting off the car and restarting it.
  • Logano narrowly missed two separate multi-car accidents late in the race. Both happened right in front of Logano, but the Home Depot Toyota made it through unscathed.
  • On the final green-white-checkered run, Logano couldn’t get any drafting help and settled for a ninth-place finish.

Logano’s Post-Race Thoughts:

“I’m disappointed because I feel that we had a Home Depot that was good enough to win the Daytona 500, but I’m really happy to finally get out of the first race of the year with a car in one piece and some momentum. There on that final run, we just couldn’t get anyone to go with us and help us draft to the front. We were stuck around a bunch of teammates who hooked up with each other and that left us kind of hanging out to dry. I was trying to hook up with the 29 (Kevin Harvick) but he was in the high lane and I couldn’t get up there and he couldn’t get down. Our teammate Denny Hamlin was a few cars in front of me, but I didn’t have time to get with him. If we would have had a five lap run to the finish there at the end, we might have been able to make more room up. But I’ll take a top-10 finish in the Daytona 500 heading into Phoenix.

“It was a wild race for sure. In fact, it was just a wild weekend all the way around. First, the race got rained out Sunday after waiting around all day, then Monday it rained and we were delayed all the way until Monday night. Then, with the big fire and the two hour delay during the race, getting out of our cars on the backstretch and talking with each other for two hours and then finishing under foggy conditions Tuesday morning. Heck, when we got to the airport early Tuesday morning to fly out, we couldn’t even leave because of the weather in Daytona and in Concord (NC). So it was just a crazy weekend. I’m just happy to get out of here with a top-10 finish and some momentum. Momentum is a huge deal in this sport and this is the way we wanted to start the year. We’ll move onto Phoenix and see how it goes from there.”