Monday, June 18, 2012

Joey Logano disappointed -- not disheartened -- after crash takes him out at MIS

By Mike Brudenell
Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Detroit Free Press Sports Writer
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Joey Logano was riding high after a Sprint Cup victory at Pocono last weekend and a Nationwide Series win at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.

But the kid they called "Sliced Bread" in the garage for being the next best thing in NASCAR, went stale Sunday at MIS.

It was not entirely Logano's fault -- he was trying to avoid a loose car when he slammed into the wall on Lap 126 of the Quicken Loans 400.

"I thought I had it saved, and I overcorrected and went into the wall," Logano said. "It's a little frustrating, but we had a top-10 car today, I think we had a top 10 coming to us here -- maybe a top five."

Logano, who started from the ninth position for Joe Gibbs Racing in the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, believes he'll be back for a fresh start at Sonoma this weekend.  
"We're still on a role, and we've still got a really good race team," Logano said. "Really good cars here, and we're not going to let this take us down."

Did Logano have any problems with the new left-side Goodyear tires that the manufacturer shipped in overnight when tires blistered in practice Friday and Saturday at MIS?

"I had one right-front (tire) issue during my last run," Logano said. "I was good, good, good, and then it blistered, and then it started to chunk apart. We were lucky we didn't blow a right front there."

Smoky escape: Some like it hot, but definitely not Denny Hamlin.

The driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was involved in a scary episode when his car spun in Turn 4, made contact with another car and caught fire.

Hamlin drove his crippled car down pit road in flames.

When Hamlin stopped in his pit box, crew members leaped into action, extinguishing the fire and helping Hamlin out of the smoking hulk.

"I got to definitely thank all the crew guys who hauled (butt) over there and got me out," Hamlin said. "I've never actually been in that situation before. I've seen it with other guys, but I've never known what it's actually like, but it gets hot.

"I thought for a second I was OK. It was just in the back, and then something exploded in the front and it caught fire. Thankfully, we got everything that we have safety-wise."

Early exit: Trevor Bayne, guest columnist for the Free Press, was the first casualty of the race when his No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford expired on Lap 7.

"I didn't even break a sweat," said Bayne, who started from seventh place. "It seems like nothing like this ... happens on a day you are running bad. As soon as you have a fast car and feel like you are in the hunt, something comes up."

Pole-vaulted: Pole-sitter Marcos Ambrose finished ninth in his No. 9 Stanley tools Ford Fusion for Richard Petty Motorsports.

Ambrose, the new qualifying record holder at MIS, had a solid day but got shuffled back in the pack after leading early in the race. But he wasn't too disappointed.

"We will take the top 10, but we had a great car today and we lost a little bit of track position and it hurt us," Ambrose said. "I am proud of my Stanley team. We led some laps and looked good up there. It was a strong day for us. Not quite what we wanted, but we will take it and move along to Sonoma."

Bad-break Brad: Rochester Hills native Brad Keselowski had a respectable 13th-place finish in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge.

"We made a lot of progress from where the weekend started, and I think we were better than a 13th-place car," Keselowski said. "We kind of fought some bad breaks, and I feel like we were probably a fifth- to 10th-place car and came home with a 13th. That's kind of been the story of our last few weeks.

"We've fought through a lot of bad breaks, some of them just luck and some of them self-inflicted, and we've been able to get finishes that you can't cry about. I feel like when we get a little bit of speed in our cars and when I execute a little bit better, we'll get ourselves back in victory lane."

Contact Mike Brudenell: 313-222-2115 or


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