Logano and Home Depot Team Earn Top-10 Finish at Sonoma.

Post-Race Highlights:

  • Joey Logano and his No. 20 Home Depot Toyota was fast in practice on Friday, but a couple of driver mistakes during his qualifying lap resulted in a 14th-place start for Sunday’s Toyota Save/Mart 350 at Sonoma.
  • As is typical in road course races, from the very start of the event, strategy came into play for the entire Sprint Cup Series field. Logano fought no rear grip in the early portions of the race, running anywhere between 13th and 16th place.
  • Crew chief Jason Ratcliff had a planned strategy for a two-stop race for Logano and the Home Depot Toyota. The first of those two stops came on lap 32.
  • The car started to come around despite still having rear grip issues and Logano found himself in the top-10 by lap 42. As the car’s handling started going away, Logano dropped back a bit but was still in contention when he came back to his second and then-final scheduled pit stop on lap 69. A great stop by the team got Logano out ninth.
  • The race’s first caution came out on lap 83 and Ratcliff called Logano back in for four tires, fuel and an adjustment. From there on out, it was a race to the front from the 13th position.
  • Logano found himself running eighth as several other cars started to dramatically fall off with older tires. Late in the race, Logano got together with his JGR teammate Denny Hamlin, resulting in Hamlin spinning around and eventually falling out of the event.
  • The race ended with another green-white-checkered finish. Restarting eighth, Logano got in a “bumper car” situation, getting into the back of a couple of cars while getting run into himself. In the end, Logano would lose a couple of positions to cars on fresher tires over the final two-lap run, but would still come home with a 10th-place finish, his sixth top-10 finish of the season.

Logano’s Post-Race Thoughts:

“We had a solid top-10 finish with the Home Depot Toyota today. The car was good but it wasn’t great, so to come out of here with a top-10 finish is good. On that last green-white-checkered finish, we lost a couple of spots because restarts and green-white-checkers are just crazy on these road courses. You are fighting for track position and you only have so much room to go and you have guys coming behind you that have fresher tires and they want to get to the front. You can get bottled up pretty easy and that is what happened with us. I got into the back of Martin Truex Jr. and a few people got into the back of me. I hate it that we got into the back of Martin because he ran a great race all day long, but that is just how things shake out at the end of these races. You have to be aggressive or you will get run over yourself. It’s happened to all of us before and it’s not a good feeling. But hopefully he knows it wasn’t anything intentional; it’s just a racing deal and I’m sorry for it. But we were able to get through that last lap and come out of here with a top-10 finish. The pit crew did a great job on pit road today and Jason Ratcliff (crew chief) made some great calls to get the car better.

“I really hate the fact that we got into Denny there a few laps earlier. I take 100-percent blame for that incident. I was just trying to protect the inside there going into turn 11 and the car just started wheel-hopping. At that point, there isn’t much you can do. I had the wheel cranked trying to get it away from Denny and I just clipped him and sent him around. I really hate that for him because he was having a great run too. Unfortunately, something else broke on his car later. I talked to him after the race and he understood and we will move on from it. I’m sure it doesn’t make him feel better, but he wasn’t mad. You never want to get into it with your own teammates that’s for sure.

“We really still have a lot of momentum on our side. I just wish we could have gotten the finish that we needed to last weekend in Michigan. If so, I think we’d be in the Wild Card spot. But we’ve got a lot of momentum going right now and we are going to try and keep carrying that on race to race. If we can keep getting top-10s and top-fives and contend for some wins, we’ll make it there.”

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