Joey Logano won the 44th Annual Pure Michigan 400 from the pole, after having set the new track qualfying record of 203.949 mph on Friday, August 16. With this victory Logano breaks his winless streak of 44 starts that dates back to Pocono on June 10, 2012. This is his third victory in 170 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, with two of his three victories having come from the pole. And this is is first win for Penske Racing and Ford, where he moved after losing his ride from Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota.
“It is so cool to be here in Victory Lane. It’s crazy racing Mark Martin, my childhood hero. ..It is so cool racing against a guy like that.” Logano said stepping out of his car, he continued saying “This is unbelievable, what a great Shell-Pennzoil Ford, just to win here at Michigan in their backyard, couldn’t ask for anything more,” Logano said. “We needed this for our Chase hopes and we’re not out of it yet.”
Logano, 23, came into the public eye as a 14 year old with praise from the 54 year old Martin, who was driving for Jack Roush at Roush-Fenway Racing, called Logano ‘The Real Deal,’ saying without a doubt he can be one of the greatest that ever raced in NASCAR.
Logano, was in the hunt as Martin ran out of fuel on lap 197 as Martin slowed rounding Turn 3, Logano zoomed passed just as the #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota dropped to the bottom of the track to get to pit road for a splash of gas. Martin finished in 27th, the first car a lap down.
As Logano took the lead, with about half a lap to the good on fuel, being chased down by Kevin Harvick in the #29 Rheem Chevrolet. Logano held on to the top spot for the final four laps and was able to take the checkered flag by 1.018 seconds over Harvick would had three laps to run down Logano, but couldn’t close the deal.
“We knew we needed another caution to make it but we had the speed to pull it off, Usually I hate seeing cautions come out but I wasn’t worried about it,” Martin said of his car after the race. “I could pull away pretty much at will there. That felt like the old days!” he added about racing up front.
Logano moves up from 16th to 13th in standings, only 17 points out of the 10th place. With two Wild Card spots available to the drivers in the 11th-20th in the standings with the most victories, Logano is now in play for one of those positions.
Harvick finished second, and remains 4th in the standings.
Kurt Busch finishing in third after having led for 43 laps, moved up 2 positions and is now 9th in the standings. Paul Menard finish fourth, with Clint Bowyer in fifth. Marcos Ambrose, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Burton, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards round out the top ten.
Jimmie Johnson with all his problems at Michigan is still the Series points leader, but seen his point margin diminish by 35 points and remains just 41 points over Bowyer.
“The engine broke there,” Johnson said after bring the car to the garage. “I guess when we came in for a green flag pit stop, something started then and made it a few more laps and I didn’t really notice anything off. Then it finally dropped a cylinder or two down the backstretch.”
Leaving just 3 races before The Chase for the Sprint Cup champion begins. Next weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup goes to a night race Saturday, August 24 for the Irwin Tools night race at Bristol Motor Speedway televised on ABC with coverage starting at 7:30 pm.