Joey Logano qualified his No. 20 Home Depot / Red Beacon Toyota in the sixth position for Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Texas Motor Speedway.
Once the race went green, Logano started complaining of a tight condition in the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota. For the first portion of the race, Logano ran just in the back half of the top-10 before coming in for his first pit stop of the day.
Over the first 100 laps, Logano continued to run anywhere from seventh to ninth while fighting the handling on his car. Over the course of the first several pit stops, crew chief Jason Ratcliff made a number of adjustments, including wedge, track bar and air pressure adjustments. Ratcliff even called for a rubber in the left rear at one point to help with the handling.
As the long race wore on and the sun began to go down in the Texas sky, the track started to change on Logano. The car moved from tight to a loose condition, both in and off the corners. Despite the changing track conditions, Logano found himself running as high as sixth.
Logano continued to run in the back half of the top-10 for the first 200 laps, never falling lower than 10th on track.
Just after lap 200, as the sun was down, the track began to loosen up and the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota couldn’t keep up. Despite a number of changes to now tighten Logano back up, the 22-year-old struggled to maintain the speed he had earlier in the race. Logano found himself running 15th.
As the race drew to a close, Logano had to survive a number of late-race restarts. Telling Ratcliff that he “found something to help himself” with his loose condition, Logano made a hard charge from 15th back into the top-10 over the race’s final laps.
With a final green-white-checkered finish, Logano fought hard to keep his top-10 finish. However, contact with another car on the last lap got Logano loose and cut down his left rear tire. Somehow, Logano was able to keep his composure and bring the No. 20 Home Depot / Red Beacon Toyota home to an 11th-place finish.
Logano’s Post-Race Thoughts: “That was a solid day for our Home Depot Toyota. I feel like we finished about where we should have. I think we could have maybe finished a couple of spots better, but we were a seventh to 11th place car out there tonight. But I also think we were only a tenth of a second or so off from being a top-five car. We just lost the handle when the sun went down and couldn’t really get it back. The car was just way too loose there at the end and even when we did everything to tighten it up, we just couldn’t get it to where I could really hustle the car.
“We lost some track position there when we fell from about eighth to 14th or 15th. I don’t know if we had a bad set of tires or if one of the tires equalized or what, but we lost that track position and it is really hard to get back at a place like this. This place is all about the aero and it’s hard to pass. Once we got the car better, we were able to make up some of those spots. I feel pretty positive about that. And then on the last lap, we just got run into and it put a hole in the left rear. Thankfully the tire didn’t go down all the way and we were able to get it home 11th.”