Joey Logano was in fine form at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday afternoon. The 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion led the most laps in the race, but he lost the lead on a late-race restart. Logano was also unable to match the No. 19 of race winner Martin Truex Jr., and therefore came short of winning for the first time in 2021.
“All of the above, just a little bit everywhere is where it seemed they beat us,” said Logano. “Once they got the 19 car tuned in he was the fastest car on the racetrack. We did a good job maximizing our day with our Shell/Pennzoil Mustang. We were a second-place car and finished second, won a stage and second in the other stage, so a lot of points. I hate finishing second, though. It really stinks, but, overall, this has been a good racetrack for us. The last few times we’ve been here is first, third and second, so we’re all over it, just needed that last run not to have a caution. I think we were in a pretty good spot to maybe run that thing out, but, overall, that was where we had it.”
Logano had a dominant car, just like he did last November, but he was unable to win. He finished in second place for the second time in 2021 and for the 17th time in his career.
“They had the best car. They turned it in,” added Logano. “We had a good car, for sure, but once they tuned it in toward the end of the second stage that was the best car on the racetrack. He just had to get upfront and he did, so I’m proud of the Shell/Pennzoil team. We did a great job all day execution-wise, staying upfront, good pit stops, getting us back upfront when we lost our track position, and, overall, a solid day. We had a stage win and some points in second place, so we’ll take it. It’s not a win. Second hurts, but we’ll move on and go to Atlanta (Motor Speedway).”
After starting ninth, Logano and his Team Penske teammates proved they were serious about racing today, leading a total of 197 laps, with Logano leading 143 of them. Despite having the speed, Logano’s pit crew really needs the credit also as they put him out front and gave him the tools he needed to battle for the victory.
The NASCAR Cup Series returns to Atlanta for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 next weekend. Logano finished 10th in the race last year. It will be his 14th attempt to win at the 1.5-mile track, where his best career finish is second, which he achieved in 2013.
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