Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Joey Logano Wins the Duck Commander 500 from Texas

Joey Logano ran away from the field to win the rain-delayed Duck Commander 500 from Texas Motor Speedway on Monday afternoon.
Photo courtesy Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Logano led during the race’s final green flag run, but he almost lost the race when the caution came out coming to the white flag.  Logano said he was upset the caution came out when it did.

“You’re like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” said Logano.  “You get so mad that you can barely control yourself.”

The caution set up a green-white-checkered finish that saw Logano restart in third after making a pit stop.  He started behind Jeff Gordon and Brian Vickers after both drivers only took two tires.  The tires couldn’t stand up to Logano’s four, and he was able to get around Gordon after taking the white flag.

“This team has been doing a great job giving me what I need to win these things.  To have both Team Penske cars with a win already is big.  You feel a little bit more comfortable.”

The race was postponed on Sunday afternoon due to rain, and the green flag was set to fly at 12:08 p.m. on Monday.  After running the first 11 laps under caution to help dry the track, the field finally took the green flag and the excitement soon followed.

Just two laps into the race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. saw his day go up in flames.  He clipped the grass, which was wet from all the rain, and it tore his front end off.  He hit the outside wall hard, and his car caught on fire.  He was able to get his car stopped, and he got out of the car without injury.

“I was following the 43 [of Aric Almirola] and just didn’t see the grass,” said Earnhardt.  “With the way the A-post is in these cars, you can’t really see.  I didn’t have a good visual of where the grass was, and got into the grass pretty good.”

The accident also caused major problems for Jimmie Johnson, who was running directly behind Earnhardt at the time.  In addition to some minor damage to the front end, Earnhardt’s car also kicked up a lot of mud that caused part of Johnson’s windshield to cave in.
Photo courtesy Nick Laham, Getty Images

When the race finally restarted following a lengthy cleanup, it was dominated early by pole-sitter Tony Stewart.  After winning his first pole position since 2012, he led 74 of the first 77 laps.

After chasing down Stewart, Brad Keselowski took the lead for the first time on lap 78.  He traded the lead with Jeff Gordon during a cycle of pit stops, and Denny Hamlin took the lead after running down Keselowski.

During the next set of green-flag pit stops, Hamlin was caught speeding while exiting pit road, and the resulting pass-through penalty cost him a shot at the win.

Kyle Busch took over the lead when Hamlin pitted, but he was quickly caught by Gordon, who retook the lead on lap 153.  

Over the next 100 laps, Gordon and Keselowski swapped the lead numerous times, before Joey Logano took the lead on a restart on lap 227.  

Logano ran away from the rest of the field until Kurt Busch blew a tire coming to the white flag.  The leaders hit pit road one last time, and Gordon and Vickers only took two tires to get out first.

On the restart, Logano worked his way around Vickers and made a last-lap pass of Gordon to take the victory.

Here are the unofficial results:

1. Joey Logano
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Kyle Busch
4. Brian Vickers
5. Kyle Larson
6. Greg Biffle
7. Matt Kenseth
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Paul Menard
10. Tony Stewart
11. Kasey Kahne
12. Aric Almirola
13. Denny Hamlin
14. Carl Edwards
15. Brad Keselowski
16. Ryan Newman
17. Jamie McMurray
18. Martin Truex Jr.
19. Trevor Bayne
20. Marcos Ambrose
21. Austin Dillon
22. David Gilliland
23. AJ Allmendinger
24. Justin Allgaier
25. Jimmie Johnson
26. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
27. Danica Patrick
28. Casey Mears
29. Michael Annett
30. Michael McDowell
31. Cole Whitt
32. Alex Bowman
33. Reed Sorenson
34. Landon Cassill
35. David Ragan
36. Josh Wise
37. Travis Kvapil
38. David Reutimann
39. Kurt Busch
40. Parker Kligerman
41. Dave Blaney
42. Kevin Harvick
43. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Darlington for the first official night race of the season.  The Bojangles’ Southern 500 can be seen at 6:30 p.m. EST, only on FOX.

Logano celebrates his victory at Texas. (Photo courtesy Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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