Dover, Delaware (September 28, 2013) – Joey Logano raced his way into the history books again on Saturday, winning his fourth straight NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Dover International Speedway in the 5-Hour Energy 200. Joey Logano is now the only NASCAR Nationwide driver to ever win four times on the Monster Mile of Dover and the only driver to win four consecutive events in any racing series at the mile long superspeedway in Delaware.
When asked about his historic day, Joey answered. “This has been my favorite place ever since I started here. Even when I barrel-rolled down the straightaway, it’s still my favorite place.”
With four straight wins at the Monster Mile, it is not hard to see why this track is his favorite place to race. The race on Saturday at the old track was recorded as the fastest ever in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, beating the previous record of 130.152 set in 1998 by Dale Earnhardt. Jr. by 1.082 mph.
The fast race was really due to the 160 laps they raced under a green flag. Logano had the pole advantage and due to this was ahead for the first 18 laps, before Kyle Busch made his move. By the time they reached the 26th lap things became a lot tighter on the track, when the caution flag was raised due to a spin by Brian Scott. The caution flag was raised again during Lap 37, when Donnie Neuenberger ran into the wall. By this time in the race, the race car of Joey Logano was running noticeably slower on the track. This prompted Joey to come into the pits for a long stop, during which time he had this to say.
“[Busch was] really fast in the beginning of the race and we were really loose,” Logano said. “I even wanted to stop at the caution before that. But we decided to stay out a little bit longer and got that next caution. We took that hit on pit road making these big adjustments. “These Nationwide races are short and you have to make big swings early. [Crew chief] Jeremy [Bullins] made some big swings on this thing and got it close, and we just needed the one more stop to fine tune it. I was just able to run my race and take care of the tires, and do the right things in the car.”
The extended pit stop worked wonders for the race car of Logano and Busch had elected to stay out on the track and gain ground, instead of pitting. When Busch eventually had to head into the pit during Lap 87, the rest of the field followed his example a few laps later, and this put Busch behind the rest of the racers on pit stops, and would mean he would need to stop one more time before the end of the race.
By this time the tires of Logano were 30 laps newer than the race tires of Busch and he started to rapidly gain ground on the leader. He caught Busch on Lap 141 and from that point on there was nothing but open race track between him and the finish line.
Logano “When your car drives good here and you have what you need, when you have lapped traffic it doesn’t even slow you down,” Logano said. “When you’re loose, you get stuck. In these Nationwide races, being able to get through the lapped traffic as quick as possible is key to winning these things.”
At the press conference after the 5-Hour Energy 200 Joey Logano had a few things to say.
Joey Logano – No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang – We had a fast race car. I don’t know what else I need to say. This Hertz Ford was really good when we unloaded and then throughout practice the track changed on us a little bit and last night we made some good changes on the race car. Jeremy and all the guys and girls on the team did a good job tuning the thing up for me. We started the race too loose and they went for it. These Nationwide races are short. You’ve got to make big swings real early and I feel like Jeremy and I have worked enough together now that when I say loose and how loose he kind of knows how much it is and he made some big swings on this thing and got it pretty close. Then we needed one more stop to just kind of fine-tune it. After that second green-flag stop it was dialed in pretty good. I was just able to run my race and take care of the tires, make sure I was doing the right things in the car, and get another victory. It’s just really cool to get four in a row here at Dover. That’s pretty awesome. It’s been my favorite race track ever since I started here, yes, even when I barrel-rolled down the back straightaway it’s still my favorite place, and I think we showed it today. Hopefully, my Shell/Pennzoil Ford tomorrow is just as fast as this one. If that’s the case, it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
The crew chief for the No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang, Jeremy Bullins, also had few comments on the race and car.
Jeremy Bullins – Crew Chief -No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang “It means a lot that we’re continuing to build good cars. This is another brand new car that the guys at the shop built. We just keep pushing forward and, like Joey said, the first race here we learned a lot about what the car needs for him. I feel like we’ve learned a lot about, like what he says, when he says ‘loose’ we’re learning how to work on it and we’re getting closer with that. We talked about it before the race, there were a lot of streaks to be kept alive today and I think we managed to pull that off, so it was just a great day on pit road. The guys did a good job. The whole team just did an excellent job today.”
When asked why it has been so hard for him to have success on the race track on Sunday at Dover International Speedway, Joey answered.
Joey Logano “I tell you what, on the Cup side I really do feel like I’ve had some strong cars here. I’ve had a lot of misfortune in the Cup races, but I’ve had a lot of fast race cars here that are capable of running top five. I’ve had loose wheels. I’ve had flat tires. I’ve had motors blowing up. I’ve gone through a lot here at this race track and that’s why if you look at the stats like you did, you wouldn’t know that we ran as well as we did, but we have run really well at this race track on the Cup side. I’m expecting tomorrow to be similar, I hope. As far as the way the Chase has gone, Chicago, we were doing everything we were supposed to do. We got the pole and we were leading laps, but unfortunately things break on race cars every now and again and that cost us a really good finish there and a lot of points, obviously. Last week at Loudon, it’s probably my toughest race track that I go to. I go from the place that I hate the most to the place I love the most this week and we came out of there with a 14th-place finish, which is not good, but, for me, is decent actually. We come here this weekend and we know that we can still run up there. We still have a lot of momentum on this team and we know what we did to get in the Chase and how good we are, and we’ve just got to keep pushing forward and keep fighting. I always say that the 22 team over there never quits and they never die and that’s what we did to get here. We’re not out of it yet. We can still win it. We’ve got a tough road ahead of us and we really can’t have a bad race in the next eight, but we can still do it. We’re not out yet. The fat lady is not singing yet. She’s warming up her voice, but she’s not singing yet.”
Was it surprising to see this race run 160 laps to the finish line without a caution and were you surprised how easily you caught up to Busch after the series of green flags evened out?
Joey Logano “Yes and yes. They were really fast in the beginning of the race. We were really loose, so I even wanted to stop the caution before that because we were hanging on. We were pretty loose, but we decided to stay out a little bit longer and then got that next caution. We took our hit on pit road a little bit making these big adjustments that we were gonna lose a couple spots and some guys took two, and then we were able to drive our way close to the front and then, obviously, he didn’t pit so he has to pit earlier than us, and then at that point we have newer tires so we were able to kind of run him back down. I don’t really know what happened after that. I was just driving in circles as fast as I could.”
“That’s when we just came out on new tires and I radioed in to Jeremy and said, ‘This car is right on. It’s right where I need it to be,’ and I was able to carry really fast lap times. When your car drives good here and you have exactly what it needs, when you get to lap traffic it doesn’t even slow you down. But if it’s loose like it was, you get to a lapped car and you’re just kind of stuck and you can’t go anywhere. He had it right where I needed to be that I was able to pass cars when I got to them and really make up that gap a lot because in these Nationwide races having a fast car is one thing, but being able to get through the lap traffic as quick as possible is key to winning these things.”