Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team fought a ill-handling Ford Fusion all evening long at Charlotte Motor Speedway, coming home 13th in the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday. Logano started the 600-mile race, the longest race of the year, in the second position. At the drop of the green, Logano slotted into the third position. However, after the first round of pit stops following a competition caution on lap 25, Logano was able to take the lead on the ensuing restart. Logano would lead two different times for 17 laps over the race’s first 100 circuits. Despite the laps out front, Logano fought an ill-handling Ford Fusion. The car was tight in the center of the corner and had no drive off. It was a problem that plagued the team all night long and got progressively worse as the sun set and the track cooled. Logano slipped back to eighth just past the halfway point and continued to play with different racing lines to no avail. Crew chief Todd Gordon made big swings at adjustments all night long, also to little avail. As the race progressed to the finish, Logano continued to slip back in the running order. Late, during a round of green-flag stops with less than 30 to go, Gordon opted to pit for tires and fuel with the rest of the leaders as several cars stayed out hoping to make it to the finish on fuel. Ultimately, those cars made it on fuel, relegating Logano and the team to a 13th-place finish. Despite the finish, Logano moved up one spot in the point standings and now sits third, 66 points behind Kevin Harvick.

“The sun started going down and our car was not good. Nothing got better. We went one way with something and went back the other way and nothing helped. There’s only so much you can do when the race starts. We were good on the bottom for a couple laps and then we tried to move up and we were junk, and then you’ve got to adjust to that lane. There was never one good thing about the car. Usually you at least get a good exit or a good center and I was just fighting way too much stuff. This is a Chase race when we come back and we’re awful here right now. We’ve just got to figure out how to go faster.”

Coca Cola 600