Sunday, June 10, 2012

Joey Logano Wins Exciting Pocono Race

Joey Logano's first and only win came in a rain-shortened race at New Hampshire in June 2009.  While his teammates have won almost 30 races since then, Logano has failed to find Victory Lane.  Now, Logano finds himself racing for his job; his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing expires at the end of the season, and he will most likely lose his ride unless he begins to perform.  He may have helped save his seat after he won the Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR.

Joey Logano celebrates his second career victory (Courtesy Getty Images)
Joey Logano led the field to the green flag, and it wasn't long until the first caution came out; Landon Cassill, Martin Truex Jr., and AJ Allmendinger got together in Turn 3 to bring out the first caution of the day.  Carl Edwards used the caution to pit after he and Denny Hamlin made contact at the start of the race.  On lap six, Joey Logano restarted in first, followed by Paul Menard, Marcos Ambrose, Jamie McMurray, and Regan Smith.  The race's second caution came out on lap 13, when J.J. Yeley, Reed Sorenson, and Tony Raines wrecked in Turn 3.  The leaders hit pit road on lap 17, which NASCAR decided would be the competition caution that was scheduled for lap 20.

Landon Cassill's torn-up car after his lap one accident (Courtesy Getty Images)
Jamie McMurray led the field back to green on lap 21, followed by Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.  On lap 23, Hamlin was able to get around McMurray for the race lead.  On lap 33, Hamlin and Keselowski came in to pit after they didn't pit under the caution.  Keselowski was caught for speeding on pit road for the first of many pit road speeding penalties.  One lap later, McMurray hit the pits and relinquished the lead to Dale Earnhardt Jr. 

Jeff Gordon hit pit road on lap 42 to start a round of green-flag stops.  The stops cycled around by lap 50, and Denny Hamlin was the leader of the race.  During the pit stops, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and David Ragan were hit with speeding penalties.  On lap 60, Dale Earnhardt Jr. grabbed the lead from Denny Hamlin heading into Turn 1.  On lap 65, Hamlin ran out of gas and had to coast to the pits.  But on lap later, the third caution of the day came out for AJ Allmendinger, who pounded the wall in Turn 2. 

On lap 72, Jamie McMurray led Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the green flag.  Two laps later, on lap 74, the caution flew again for debris.  Under the caution, Kyle Busch's engine let go, and he took it to the garage.  The green flag came back out on lap 83, and Greg Biffle led Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, and Matt Kenseth.  On lap 93, Matt Kenseth was able to get around his Roush-Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle for the lead.  On lap 103, a group of cars came down to begin another round of green-flag pit stops.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. was able to grab the lead when the stops cycled around. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. races with Dave Blaney (Courtesy Getty Images)

On lap 115, Greg Biffle radioed in that he had lost a cylinder.  On lap 124, his engine finally let go to bring out the fifth caution of the race.  The green flag came back out on lap 129.  It stayed green until lap 136, when Kasey Kahne found the wall coming off the tunnel turn to bring out the sixth caution of the day.  Under the caution, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon came in to top off on fuel as they were about three laps short. 

The race restarted on lap 143, and Joey Logano led Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, and Matt Kenseth to the lead.  Martin stayed beside Logano through Turn 1, and Stewart dive-bombed underneath them both looking for the lead, but coming out of Turn 3, Martin got back into second place.  On lap 149, the caution came out again for debris in Turn 2. 

Mark Martin leads a group of cars (Courtesy Getty Images)
The race restarted on lap 152, and Mark Martin was able to pull in front of Joey Logano, and Martin started to pull away from Logano.  With five laps to go, Mark Martin hopped the curb in Turn 3, and Joey Logano was able to pull up to his back bumper.  Going into Turn 1, Logano gave Martin the bump-and-run, and he was able to take the lead.  Logano was able to pull away to win his first race since the rain-shortened race at New Hampshire in June 2009. 

Mark Martin finished second after watching the victory slip through his fingers with five laps to go.  It was his seventh second-place finish at Pocono Raceway; Martin has never won at Pocono.  Tony Stewart finished third.  Jimmie Johnson had to serve two pit road speeding penalties, but he was able to come back to finish fourth.  Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer finished fifth and sixth, respectively.  Matt Kenseth finished seventh, and he was able to take the points lead away form his teammate Greg Biffle.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. was able to come back to finish eighth.  Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top ten.  Carl Edwards was able to finish 11th after his lap-one skirmish with Denny Hamlin.  Brad Keselowski finished 18th after he had to serve multiple pit road speeding penalties.  Jeff Gordon finished 19th.  Greg Biffle's engine let go, and he finished 24th.  Kasey Kahne finished 29th, and Kyle Busch finished 30th after blowing an engine about halfway through the race.

The Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR was one of the most exciting races at Pocono in recent years.  I should know; Pocono is my favorite track and I try to get out to at least one race every year.  Next week, NASCAR heads to the Irish Hills to Michigan International Speedway for the Quicken Loans 400.  The race will be at 12 noon, only on TNT.
Courtesy Getty Images

1 comment:

  1. I held my breath the last 6 laps... I wanted Mark Martin to win it so bad, I was jumping up and down in my living room when he got around Logano.