[media-credit id=43 align=”alignright” width=”268″][/media-credit]At the newly-paved Pocono Raceway, young Joey Logano put the moves on veteran Mark Martin, literally, to score the race win. This was career win number two for the driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota and his first win of the season.
With the victory, Logano became the youngest race winner at Pocono.
“That feels awesome to finally win one the right way,” Logano said. “You don’t know how much this means.”
“I knew my car was better than his and clean air was worth so much,” Logano said of his battle with Martin. “I didn’t want to get in the back of Mark there.”
“I saw the bobble coming off 3 and I knew that was my chance,” Logano continued. “I would have been on suicide watch if I would have given it away like that.”
Logano’s crew chief, Jason Ratcliff, got his first Sprint Cup win as well.
“We were saving the best Gibbs car for last,” Jason Ratcliff said, with a chuckle. “To get my first win at Pocono is a great experience and to get it with Joey was the best.”
“It was a great weekend for us.”
In contrast to the youngest race winner, Mark Martin, one of the veterans of the sport and driver of the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota, came in second after being moved out of the way by the youngster.
This was Martin’s second second place finish at Pocono, posting his 34th top-10 in 51 races at Pocono. It is his fifth top-10 finish of the season.
“We were racing hard,” Mark Martin said. “I wanted to win it so bad.”
“I’d call it a bump and run,” Martin said of Logano’s move. “It’s not how I would have done it.”
“If I had a fast enough car, he would have gotten a return,” Martin continued. “It was a great race and I’m very, very proud of my race team for putting me in something that would give me a shot.”
“Maybe next week, we’ll be the ones with the trophy.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, finished third. This was Smoke’s 19th top-10 finish in 27 races at Pocono.
“It was frustrating the first half of the race until guys got their cars better,” Stewart said. “You really just kind of got stuck and then it seems like the longer the race went, the easier it got to pass toward the end.”
“The restarts were insane,” Smoke continued. “All in all, for a freshly paved track, it was a pretty good race.”
The day started with a bang at the ‘Tricky Triangle’, with a record two cautions in the first 15 laps, on for an accident involving Landon Cassill, Martin Truex, Jr. and AJ Allmendinger and the second for an accident involving Reed Sorenson, Tony Raines, and JJ Yeley.
“Sometimes when you try to take it easy, you get yourself in trouble,” Cassill, driver of the No. 83 Burger King/Real Fruit Smoothies said. “I really hate this.”
“This is two tough weeks in a row and it’s tough on my guys.”
One of the other drivers involved in the early race melee, AJ Allmendinger, was very slow in exiting his car after his on-track incident in his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge.
“I’m not sure what happened,” Dinger said. “I think I blew a right front.”
“I’m just a little sore, had the wind knocked out of me,” Allmendinger continued. “That might be one of the hardest hits I’ve had.”
The other big story from the Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR was the incredible number of speeding penalties, some entering but most exiting pit road. The final tally for pit road speeding penalties total was 22 and affected drivers from Jeff Gordon to Jeff Burton.
“I was obviously being told by my crew chief that a lot of guys were getting busted in that last segment,” Stewart said. “We just made sure we were a little bit on the conservative side.”
“It just shows the guys are pushing the envelope on it so close,” Smoke said. “But it makes you wonder if something was going on because a lot of guys got busted in the same spot.”
The other news from Long Pond was that a new points leader emerged after the Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR. With Greg Biffle’s 24th place finish, his teammate Matt Kenseth, who finished seventh, scored the top dog position.
“It’s probably the best we’ve ever performed at Pocono,” the driver of the No. 17 Ford EcoBoost Fusion said. “That was the positive part because we went up there and led some laps under green and thought we were pretty competitive.”
In typical Kenseth style, his comment on assuming the points lead was “It’s better than being second.”
“But I’m kind of disappointed,” Kenseth continued. “I thought we had a shot to win under the right circumstances.”
“Us and the 88 (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) were pretty strong when we were out front and it just didn’t happen,” Kenseth said. “We’ll keep working on it, but I’m happy we got a decent finish and took over the point lead.”
|Unofficial Race Results|
|Pocono 400, Pocono Raceway|
|8||8||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||37|
|20||23||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||24|
|33||43||33||Stephen Leicht *||Chevrolet||11|
|42||35||26||Josh Wise *||Ford||3|