By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
An early miscalculation left Joey Logano out of fuel at Pocono Raceway. This forced the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver to climb his way back through the field for the rest of the Pocono 400.
On the final restart, Logano found himself outside the top-10 in his No. 22 Shell / Pennzoil Ford Fusion. As the field fanned out three, four, and five wide entering turn one, the Team Penske driver squeezed past his competitors. Logano followed seven-time Premier Series Champion, Jimmie Johnson through the maze of cars. When the checkered flag waved, Logano had finally climbed back into the top-10, finishing ninth.
Logano’s climb through the field started early in the race, at the end of Stage 1. He, along with most of the field pitted around the halfway mark of the stage. However, with a new fueler on the pit crew, Logano’s car had trouble refueling. He ran out of fuel after the closure of pit road for the end of the stage, relegating him to the tail-end of the field, and costing him a lap. Now off sequence, Logano wouldn’t move back onto the lead lap permanently until he took the wave around at the end of Stage 2.
“We just didn’t get the gas tank full on the first stop and ended up running out of gas and then we had to pit while the pits were closed and went down a lap and then there just weren’t any cautions to get the lap back,” Logano explained. “Once we did it was just too late. We finished ninth and at least we got back up there some but I feel like we should have finished top-five with the car we had. We just shot ourselves in the foot a little bit today.”
In the climb back up through the field, Logano tried to get everything he could on restarts. On the next to last restart, he tried to bump draft Erik Jones, however, his car was not directly in line with Jones. The contact sent the Joe Gibbs Racing driver spinning into the inside wall. Logano asked his spotter, TJ Majors, to pass along an apology to the No. 20 team.
The ninth-place finish is the 11thtop-10 finish for Logano this season. However, because he did not earn any stage points, he slips to third in the Championship Points Standings, 90-points behind Points Leader Kyle Busch. Logano is locked into the Playoffs via his win at Talladega Superspeedway earlier this season. He still has just seven Playoff Points compared to the 25 that both Busch and Kevin Harvick have, and the 13 that race winner Martin Truex, Jr. has.
Now Logano and his team will look to not have any repeat issues in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 10.