theracereview

Joey Logano started ninth and finished second in Sunday afternoon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, the first race in the 10 race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Logano started ninth with the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion after qualifying was rained out on Friday afternoon, but he and crew chief Todd Gordon were confident they’d be able to improve on the starting position as the Shell-Pennzoil Ford, carrying the Team Penske 50th anniversary mosaic scheme, had shown solid speed throughout three practice sessions. When the green flag flew, Logano quickly began working toward the top-five, reaching the fifth position by lap 76. Once in fifth position, Logano and the Shell-Pennzoil team would find themselves there throughout most of the event as track position proved to be a premium on the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway. The Shell-Pennzoil crew would make seven pit stops on the day, making only minor adjustments to the No. 22 Ford as Logano described a car that was relatively neutral throughout the runs. Late in the race, Logano made a pass on teammate Brad Keselowski, moving him to the fourth position. When a late race caution flew, sending the race to overtime, Gordon called on the Shell-Pennzoil crew to execute the seventh and final pit stop. As they had all day, the team executed a flawless pit stop, gaining Logano a position over those who pitted. The team would restart in the sixth position as three cars remained on the track during the caution cycle. On the ensuing restart Logano would again demonstrate his prowess on one of the most difficult aspects of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, jumping to the second position before the checkered flag. While the second place finish was one-position short of the team’s ultimate goal, it was a tremendous kickoff to the first round of the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

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“It was awesome execution by the 22 team. From every angle. We had a very fast race car and were awesome on pit road. You want to talk about pressure, not just Chase pressure, but coming down at the end of the race to try to win, they executed and had an awesome pit stop and beat the 11 out and ultimately gives us a second place finish. I couldn’t be more proud of the team and the way we executed and attacked today. Overall very proud of what this 22 team was able to do all weekend. Brought a very fast racecar, one that was capable of running top three for sure. Just took us a while to get to that point. Then anytime a caution comes out late like that, that’s the definition of pressure for a pit crew. You’re in the Chase, there’s a lot on the line, you’re coming down to the end to win a race. They execute and beat the 11 off of pit road. Couldn’t be more proud of the way they handled the pressure and the way the pressure made them better. That’s pretty neat. It’s a big thing to look forward to through the next nine weeks, we can handle it. Showed it today. Can’t wait to get to New Hampshire and continue this momentum. Obviously a second‑place finish gives us a decent cushion for the next couple races, but we got to keep attacking the way we are right now.”