Pit Call Puts Logano in Position

Team Penske

"That is Todd’s (Gordon) top-three there. He did a good job giving us a shot to win." (Photo: Getty Images)

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Team Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski both turned in top-10 performances Sunday in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Logano led late on Sunday before being passed for the lead with 15 laps to go by eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson before finishing third, his fourth top-five finish and sixth top-10 finish of the season.

Logano started fourth and finished ninth in Stage 1 at Texas, before falling out of the top 10 at the end of Stage 2. But twice in Stage 3 he found himself in the lead after differing pit strategy by crew chief Todd Gordon, who left Logano out on track with older tires following two rounds of green flag pit stops.

Gordon would make the call for Logano to stay on track during the final caution period of the race when the other leaders pitted, setting up the battle for the win between Logano, Kevin Harvick, Johnson and others.

“That is Todd’s (Gordon) top-three there. He did a good job giving us a shot to win,” Logano said. “I tried to hold off the 48, he was faster. There is nothing to say besides that. I was in the clean and had the clean air and he was still faster behind me.”

After being passed by Johnson, Logano made one final effort to regain the lead but was unable to shake the seven-time series champion.

“Once he passed me, my car kind of came to me a little bit and I was able to run him back down a little bit,” Logano said. “If he had made a mistake I was going to be there. He was loose, I could tell, then all of a sudden he wasn’t loose anymore.”

All in all, Logano was happy with his finish, even though he may not have had one of the more elite cars in the field on Sunday.

“I needed a 15-lap run instead of a 30-lap run, or a couple cautions in three and we would be standing in Victory Lane with a 12th-place car and that would have been something,” Logano said.

Keselowski came up one spot short of nothing his sixth-straight top-five finish, coming home sixth on Sunday. He scored stage points at the end of Stages 1 and 2, and was in position to finish in the top-five in the closing laps of the race.

“We just seemed kind of stuck in that fifth to sixth-place range,” Keselowski said. “We are fighting a few things throughout the day and we got a little better there at the end,”

“I think we had a little bit more in the tank if there was more time left,” Keselowski said. “Unfortunately we just ran out of laps. 

The duo both find themselves in the top-five in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points. Keselowski’s two wins in 2017 has taken him to the fourth position, 41 points behind leader Kyle Larson. Logano is fifth in Cup Series points after seven races, 72 points behind the leader.

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