Joey Logano and the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang team started eighth and finished third in Saturday afternoon’s Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway. Logano, regarded as one of the best restrictor plate racers in NASCAR, wasted no time maneuvering the No. 22 Mustang into the top-five and battled his way to the front of the field by lap 17. Logano would lead on four different occasions for a total of 16 laps. Throughout the opening run, Logano radioed crew chief Greg Erwin reporting the No. 22 Ford was a little loose. The team made a trackbar adjustment on the first stop at lap 28 after Logano finished second in the first stage. Logano restarted in the 16th position as a prior caution period before the stage end split the field into different strategies. However, Logano was back out front by lap 35 and ran inside the top-five for the majority of the event. In the middle stages, Logano picked up a piece of debris on the nose of the car while leading and was forced to drop in behind the top-four and clear the debris from the nose. In doing so, Logano fell out of the lead draft, and rode outside until a caution flag at lap 97 brought the field back together. The team pitted for the final time on lap 98, taking four tires and fuel. Logano took the lead again at lap 105, but was shuffled back a few laps later, dropping to the back of the top-10 before working with Ford Performance teammate Aric Almirola to get back to the front. The push would be enough to propel the No. 98 to the lead and the win, with the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang finishing in the third position. With the third place finish and stage points, the No. 22 team extended their lead in the NASCAR XFINITY Owners Point standings to 68 over second place.

“Man we were so close, aggravating, but so much fun. I love racing here at Talladega in these XFINITY cars. The draft is so crazy and different. The runs come so quick and it’s hard to block them. You have to physically block them with your car and it’s really tight. We came through (Turns) 3 and 4, I thought I had a run and Aric was late to block and I was like, ‘This is could be where it all ends (laughs)’. (He) got there just in time and I just got into his rear and had to cross him over. Dang it! I had a good push there at the end with the 2 car and we just couldn’t stay attached like we needed to. If the caution came out sooner, we would have won the race. I’m glad they let us race to the end. Selfishly, I wish the caution came out, but for the fans I’m glad that it didn’t. We did everything that we could do.”

Sparks Energy 300