In a car that looked more like it had just completed 500 miles at Martinsville than a race at Talladega, Joey Logano nearly pulled off the three-peat in the fall race at the track, but in the end had to settle for a fourth-place finish when the checkered flag flew.
“Brad and I worked well together and we were able to help him win the race today, which was good,” said Logano. “I wish we could have won the race. I had a good enough run, but the damage and all – even though the guys did a good job fixing it – you could tell the speed wasn’t there as much at the end, but we were still able to pick up enough to keep some speed in it and get a fourth-place finish. It’s a good way to recover after a crash to finish fourth. I guess you should be proud of that, but I’m still mad I didn’t win.”
Though Logano missed out on the playoffs, he looked at Sunday’s Alabama 500 as a prime opportunity to win a race for the first time since April and make it three October Talladega wins in a row.
After a strong qualifying effort, Logano and the rest of the Ford contingent came to life early in the going with Logano streaking to the lead from the drop of the green flag and staying out front for the first 13 circuits and again near the end of the first stage. Though he dropped back in the pack through the middle portion of the race, things began to look up again for the No. 22 team late in the race, when he found the front of the pack for a third time to bring his laps led total to 59 on the day, a race-high.
While he looked to be the man to beat with the laps winding down, disaster struck on lap 179, when he was involved in a five-car pileup in Turn 3, bringing out the second red flag of the day. While had had sustained a decent amount of damage, his crew was able to get the car repaired and back out on track in short order.
Even though the car was battered and bruised, Logano held his own in the pack and avoided the final multi-car crash to put himself in position to win late in the going, even pushing his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski to the win before falling to fourth when the checkered flag flew.
While it was another top-five finish on the season, Logano was still a bit disappointed that he wasn’t the one celebrating the win.
“Under the red flag I said, ‘You know we can still win this thing,’ and we got really close,” said Logano. “Our never-quit-attitude got us a top-five out of a day that looked like we may not even finish. I’m proud of that. We just have to fight again. I wanted to win this one really bad. Anything beside winning right now hurts.”