By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase drivers were in need of a good run at Kansas Speedway in the wake of the chaos at Charlotte Motor Speedway. One such driver that needed to make up some ground in the Hollywood Casino 400 was Joey Logano.
Logano entered the Kansas race weekend 11th in the Chase standings, six points behind the Chase cutoff for the Round of Eight.
In practice, Logano looked like his weekend would be lackluster. He was 12th in the first practice, 18th in the second practice, and 19th in the final practice.
In qualifying however, Logano put his No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion sixth on the starting grid.
As the race started, Logano held station until the first caution on lap 27. As the field hit pit road, Logano’s Team Penske pit crew were able to help him move up to third.
After the race restarted, Logano slipped backwards. By lap 45, Logano had slipped to fifth. On lap 60, Logano had fallen out of the top five, and was in seventh, where he finally stabilized.
During a round of green flag pit stops, Logano stayed on track to lead a lap and gain a bonus point.
Logano then slowly began to move forward, cracking the top five once again on lap 120. He was able to stay inside the top five for the remainder of the race.
By the time the checkered flag waved, Logano quietly crossed the line in third, behind fellow Chasers Kevin Harvick, who won, and Carl Edwards. This was Logano’s 12th top five of the 2016 season.
Logano is currently tied with Austin Dillon for eighth, the Chase cutoff, in the Chase standings. Logano currently holds the tiebreaker, which as of now would give him the final transfer spot into the Round of Eight.
Logano was out of breath after finishing in third.
“That was hard fought. I am still breathing hard. We just weren’t very good on the short runs so I had to play defense instead of offense on restarts. After 15 laps we were equal to, not way better to the point we could make up a bunch of time. I think they told me I am eighth in points so we will be close on it racing at Talladega. We wanted to get a solid top-five and if we could win that is what we wanted. We had a good effort, we just have to get our cars a little faster right now.”
Logano has the 20th best average finish among active drivers in the last five races at Talladega Superspeedway. Chase Elliott has the best driver average at Talladega in the last five races with an average finish of 5.00. Elliott currently only has one start at Talladega.
Logano has a career average finish of 19.87 at Talladega in 15 career starts at the 2.66-mile track. He has one win, three career top fives at Talladega and five career Top 10s. Logano has led only 82 laps at Talladega, where he also has five DNFs in his career.
In the last five races at Talladega, Logano has an average finish of 20.40 with an average driver rating of 84.2. During this five-race span, Logano has one win, one top five and one Top 10. He also has two DNFs during this span of races as well.
Based on these statistics, Logano will have his work cut out for him in the Alabama 500 at the unpredictable Talladega Superspeedway as he tries to secure his position in the final race before the Round of Eight.