Logano Looking For More
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on August 17, 2014 | 5:55 P.M. EST
Joey Logano led a race-high 86 laps but it wasn't enough to keep Jeff Gordon from winning Sunday at Michigan. (Photo: Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, Mich. – Joey Logano’s stellar season continued Sunday with a third-place finish in the Pure Michigan 400.
Logano started from the front row and led a race-high 86 laps. He battled eventual winner Jeff Gordon for the lead in the closing laps after a couple of restarts but couldn’t make a serious bid for the checkered flag.
“Took off at the beginning of the race, pretty fast, leading a lot of laps,” said Logano. “Just kept tightening the car up, getting a little bit better. By the end we were able to get the car pretty much where it needed to be. Then just restart after restart after restart.
“I won every single restart I was on the front row except the last one, so here I am. It's kind of frustrating.”
Logano and Gordon got into a game of cat and mouse in the final pair of restarts that drew the ire of the both the No. 24 team and NASCAR, which warned the Team Penske driver.
He got the jump again on what turned out to be the final restart, but after a side-by-side battle with Gordon for the lead, Logano was forced to settle for third.
“I had a bunch of good ones,” Logano laughed about the final restarts. “The last one wasn’t the greatest. I got through the gearbox good and had (Gordon) cleared. I should have pulled down in front of him and got that draft, but he got up next to me and pulled me back so hard that I couldn’t get away from him. He was able to get position on me into (Turn) 1. Once he got that clean air, I knew I had one more shot. I knew I was really good into (Turn) 1 and that was his weak point.
“I drove it off there and got him wiggling a little bit ... but he was able to pull me back again off the corner and then I got loose under him trying to maintain what I had and came in third.”
Logano sits fourth in the points standing but he has two wins and a spot in the Chase. While third place is nothing to be ashamed about, Logano knows the new championship format means first place is by far the most important goal.
“I said this after Pocono, finished third,” said Logano. “I said, doesn’t matter because wins are the only thing that matters right now. Yes, we like the momentum. That's a good thing to go into the Chase with the momentum we got. A lot of top‑five, top‑10 finishes. Moves us up in the points, but doesn't matter unless you have wins.”