Post Race Highlights:

  • Logano qualified ninth for Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix. Logano’s qualifying position led all of the Joe Gibbs Racing cars. Kyle Busch started 12th and Denny Hamlin started 13th.
  • Logano ran in the top-15 for the first 100 laps of the event. He briefly broke into the top-10 on lap 22 and then again on lap 66. In between, the Home Depot pit crew gave Logano lightning quick pit stops, gaining him positions in the pits each time.
  • On lap 120, Logano moved into ninth-place following a restart and spent the next 110 laps a constant presence in the top-10. During that stint, Logano ran as high as fifth on a couple of different occasions.
  • Crew chief Jason Ratcliff, in only his second race as a full-time Sprint Cup Series crew chief, made small and calculated adjustments on the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota all afternoon long, mostly with air pressure and wedge adjustments. Most of the day, Logano was fighting a tight condition in the middle of the corners.
  • Ratcliff called Logano onto pit road on lap 248 to ensure the team the ability to make it the rest of the way on fuel while a number of drivers stayed on the track, choosing to gamble on their fuel mileage.
  • While stuck in traffic, Logano struggled with the handle of the Home Depot Toyota in “dirty air,” but the call to pit for fuel proved to be the right one, as several cars ran out of gas in the final handful of laps.
  • Logano crossed the finish line in the 10th position, giving him his second-straight top-10 finish to start the year. JGR teammate Denny Hamlin won the event.
  • Unofficially, Logano now sits eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, just 19 points out of the lead.

Logano’s Post-Race Thoughts:

“It was a good day for the Home Depot Toyota. We had a solid car all afternoon long. In fact, I really think we had a car that easily could have finished better than we did, but we just got caught without track position there late in the race and couldn’t go anywhere when we were stuck back in traffic. These cars are so different when you are out front or have clean air as opposed to when you have dirty air and you are stuck in a pack. Even if you are really fast, you can struggle when you are stuck behind cars. But in the end, it was the right call to come in and get fuel on that last pit stop. We didn’t need to get stuck out there trying to save fuel or take the chance of running out. We are really looking to get through these first five races or so with a lot of momentum and a good spot in the point standings. Then we can start to take some chances.

“I’m really happy with our team two races into the season. This race really was the first true test of the new team, the communication between Jason (Ratcliff) and me and our whole new attitude. Daytona is a different track all in its own. Phoenix here is a place where you try and have a good handle on the car, have good communication and get down to business. I think we did all of that this weekend. Our communication was great. Jason made just the right calls on the stops to make the car handle a little better and better each time and the pit crew was great on pit road. All-in-all, it was a really good day for the Home Depot Toyota.

“Another top-10 finish to start the season is huge. We have been talking about building momentum and that is what these first two races does. It builds my confidence and it builds the confidence in the team and it builds Jason’s confidence. It really gives us an advantage going into Las Vegas that we know we are a team and I’m a driver capable of running in the top-five and top-10 every week. We can win some races this year and that’s our plan.”