Joey Logano qualified his No. 20 Home Depot Toyota 18th for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway.
When the race began, Logano immediately moved into the top-15. Early on, Logano was reminded of the summer race at NHMS, radioing in that his car was loose in, tight in the center and loose off, the same problem he had back in July.
Following the first round of pit stops, Logano complained that the car was not getting that much better. Despite the ill-handling car, Logano was able to hold onto a spot in the top-15.
A couple of more pit stops saw crew chief Jason Ratcliff continue to try and make changes to the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, including wedge and air pressure adjustments. The car was still not improving on the long runs.
On lap 180, Ratcliff called for a two-tire stop to get Logano track position. The 22-year-old came into the pits 19th but came out in third following the ultra-fast stop.
Following the restart, Logano was able to stay in the top-10. As the race continued on, Logano eventually slipped back to 12th.
The No. 20 Home Depot Toyota continued to get better and better and the handling finally started to come around. With just 50 laps to go, Logano was running his fastest laps of the race. Ratcliff called for Logano to stay out during a late-race caution and Logano restarted the race in eighth with just 25 laps to go.
Over the final run, Logano was able to drive to seventh but ultimately fell back to eighth as the checkers flew. It was Logano’s second-straight top-10 finish during the Chase.
Logano’s Post-Race Thoughts: “That was a great comeback for the entire Home Depot team. We struggled early in practice, but on Saturday we had figured some things out. But when the rains came through last night and washed all of the rubber off the track, it changed things. When the race started, the car was just tight and I couldn’t get it to turn. There was no rear grip off the corners and the front of the car wasn’t turning. We tried to make a bunch of changes to the car early and it seemed like everything we were doing wasn’t really helping very much.
“Jason (Ratcliff) made a great call there just past halfway to take two tires and get some track position. The change he made with the two tires, I think a wedge adjustment, really brought the car to life. Having the two tires, the better handling car and the track position was huge. We were able to race in the top-10 the rest of the afternoon. We didn’t have a race winning car by any means, but it was a lot better than where we were running early. I felt like we could hold our own, even with guys that had four tires. We were running our fastest laps at the end of the race, so it made sense for us to just stay out there at the end. It’s great to have two top-10s in the last two weeks. That’s what you want to have at the end of the season. And it was a big day for Joe Gibbs Racing. That was awesome to see them win their 100th Cup race as an organization. I’m proud to say I was a part of that.”