Joey Logano scored his first victory for Roger Penske in his own backyard, taking the win at Michigan International Speedway, a track Penske used to own.
The victory came as a result of a strong strategy for the #22 Ford, who led a race-high 51 laps and passed Mark Martin for the lead with just three laps to go after Martin ran out of fuel. The win puts Logano well in the hunt for a place in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, currently in 13th and just one spot away from a wild-card qualification.
“It’s well-deserved.” said Logano. “The team gave me a great Shell-Pennzoil Ford that was capable of winning. We kept tuning it in, getting a little better, a little better. When it was up to me on the last restart, I had to be very aggressive to get by the 29 and do what I had to do and here we are. What a great place to win. What a great time to win, being in Ford’s backyard, being in Roger’s backyard. It was a great opportunity for me and I’m glad to make the most of it.”
The win looked to be going the way of Mark Martin as the race neared its conclusion, but fuel got the better of the veteran driver, ending the race down in 27th place.
“We knew we needed another caution to make it but we had the speed to pull it off,” said Martin. “I used to hate to see cautions come out but I could pull away at will. That felt like the old days. Kudos to (crew chief) Rodney Childers and the guys. They rolled the dice and it’s not crazy for a caution at the end of these races.”
With just three races remaining until the Chase, Kurt Busch managed to claw his way back in to the top 10 with a third place finish moving him to ninth in the standings. Greg Biffle held on to his tenth place in the standings with a ninth at Michigan, while Brad Keselowski, who held on to twelfth in the race after running short on fuel, remains in eighth in the standings. The wild-card spots are currently held by Kasey Kahne in 11th with two wins and Martin Truex, Jr. in 12th with one win.
Jimmie Johnson remained at the top of the Sprint Cup standings despite a bad day for the #48, retiring when his engine let go after battling through from last to fifteenth in the first 40 laps.
“The engine broke,” Johnson said. “When we came in for our green-flag pit stop, something happened and we eventually dropped a cylinder. We had plenty of speed and we were going to be a factor. … It happens. I hope we get it all out of the way now.”