Originally written on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 7/3/12

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 02: Joey Logano, driver of the Sport Clips Toyota, stands on pit road prior to the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 on October 2, 2010 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

 

Joey Logano and the No. 20 Dollar General team couldn’t have gotten out of Kentucky Speedway any sooner last Saturday night. Logano struggled in practice and qualifying, but crew chief Jason Ratcliff and the entire No. 20 team worked on getting Logano’s car better and better all evening long and eventually, Logano found himself in the top-10.

However, it was just a few laps after breaking into the top-10 that Logano was punted from behind by another driver, sending him sliding down the track and into the side of another car. That contact folded in Logano’s left rear fender and resulted in an ill-handling car. The lack of a caution flag eventually meant Logano fell a lap down. By the time a caution came out and Ratcliff got Logano’s car fixed up, Logano drove straight into the “Lucky Dog” position but was never able to catch a final caution flag to put him back on the lead lap. Logano had to settle for a 22nd-place finish.

While the official Wild Card standings show Logano fourth in the race for the final two spots into the Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship, in reality, Logano is tied for the second and final Wild Card spot. While his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch firmly holds the first Wild Card spot, Logano is tied in points with two other drivers, each driving looking for that last Wild Card spot and each driver already with a win this season. Logano, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne remarkably each find themselves with 463 points after 17 races this season and each with one win. The tie-breaker is the next highest finish, putting Kahne ahead of Logano for that final Wild Card spot. There are still nine-more races before the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship begins.

Logano has competed in seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Daytona International Speedway. And while his Daytona career didn’t start out all that well, the youngster is finally starting to come into his. After getting swept up in some of the multi-car accidents that are the norm on restrictor plate tracks, Logano has finished in the top-10 in his last two Daytona starts. Last summer, Logano came home third at Daytona and he followed that up with a ninth-place finish in this year’s Daytona 500.

This weekend’s event in Daytona International Speedway will mark the first “repeat” trip to a track that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has already visited in the 2012 season. As the summer winds on and the Chase gets closer, the series will begin to make several repeat trips to tracks they have already visited this season. Those repeat trips are some of the races that Logano and Ratcliff will look forward to the most, as it will be the first chance for the duo to go into a race and use notes from a previous event that they have come up with together rather than relying on notes from the past when the two hadn’t yet worked together.

This weekend in Daytona, Logano will be back to his “normal schedule,” competing in both the NASCAR Nationwide Series event and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at the same track on the same weekend. Logano comes into the Daytona NNS event on a roll, winning four of the last five Nationwide Series events he’s been in. He also comes in as the defending Nationwide Series race winner, where he took the checkers at Daytona a year ago.

With Dollar General being back on the side of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota this weekend, Logano will get to spend some time with the Dollar General folks in attendance, along with Chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling. However, he won’t get to spend a lot of time with Rick during pre-race, because Dreiling, an avid race fan who takes in all forms of motorsports, will get the opportunity to wave the green flag prior to the start of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.

Dollar General vendor partners Glad, STP, Today and Always, Gildan, Pull-Ups, Airwick, Colgate, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Suave Men and Slim Jim will be featured on Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota Camry this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

The Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway (Daytona Beach, FL; 2.5-mile superspeedway) is set for Saturday night, July 7 at 6:30 pm ET. The race will be broadcast on TNT (TV) and MRN (radio).

JGR PR

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