FORT WORTH, Texas (April 7, 2014) - Penske Racing's Joey Logano became the seventh different winner in as many NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season after surviving a green/white-checkered finish in Monday's rain-delayed NASCAR Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
(No. 22 Shell Pennzoil/Hertz Ford) was cruising to victory with a
two-second lead over Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski (No. 2
Miller Lite Ford) with just over one lap remaining in the scheduled
334-lap event, but debris from a shredded tire on Kurt Busch's No. 41
Haas Automation Chevrolet brought out the caution and two-lap overtime
"When you've got forty-something laps after the last pit stop and a pretty sizable lead, really, all you're thinking is, 'Where's the white flag, where's the white flag?," Logano said. "Brad (Keselowski) was able to catch us a little bit and then you go into turn one and you see the 41 (Kurt Busch) up against the wall and you're like, 'Please, no caution. Please, no caution.' And, of course, boom, it comes out and you're like 'You've got to be kidding me."
The leaders pitted and Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Axalta/Texas A&M Chevrolet), who was fifth when the caution came out, and Brian Vickers (No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota) gambled with two-tire stops to come out for the restart first and second, respectively. Logano, with four fresh tires, came out third, but his teammate and chief contender Keselowski was penalized for speeding on pit road, which dropped him into 15th.
Gordon held off Logano on the first lap, but Logano got a strong run inside on the frontstretch and was able to overtake him in Turn 1 and pull away to a 0.476 of a second margin of victory in the race that was extended to 340 laps.
The victory was Logano's first win since August of last season at Michigan and the fourth of his career. It also was his first Sprint Cup win at Texas Motor Speedway, topping his previous best finish of third in this past November's AAA Texas 500. Logano also became the youngest Sprint Cup Series winner in TMS history at 23 years, 10 months and 14 days.
"It's such a tough race track and we had plenty of time to think about this for the last couple days, so it's a really cool place to win," Logano said. "They give you a ring, I've got guns, I've got a trophy, I've got a hat, I've got a duck call. It's pretty cool."
The race got off to a bizarre start as several cars, including Keselowski, reported damage to their hoods as a result of the air pressure when they passed the jet engine-powered track dryers on track as NASCAR officials began the race under green/yellow conditions.
When the field finally went green after 10 green/yellow laps to feel out the condition of the track, it lasted just three laps as Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet) caught the front end of his car into the soggy infield grass on the frontstretch. The result was his car jetting across the track and slamming hard into the Turn 1 wall with the rear of the car bursting into flames. Earnhardt Jr. escaped from the burning car unscathed.
Polesitter Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) led 74 of the first 76 laps - making him the Cup all-time career laps led leader at Texas with 801 - but he faded and eight other drivers owned the lead at some point of the race. Keselowski and Gordon appeared to be primary contenders, but Logano methodically made his way to the front and took his first lead on Lap 226.
Logano, who led 32 laps in 11 previous starts at Texas, led 108 of the final 116 laps, but had to battle through the green/white-checkered finish to secure the victory. Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota) was third, Vickers fourth and rookie Kyle Larson (No. 42 Target Chevrolet) fifth.
Logano joins Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Keselowski as a winner this season and in a prime position to secure a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The 10-race Chase includes a stop at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 2, for the eighth race in the championship playoff format.
This was just the third time in Texas Motor Speedway's 18-year history that a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was run on Monday due to inclement weather. The first time was April 8, 2002, won by Matt Kenseth, and the most recent came April 19, 2010 when both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races were run on the same day. Denny Hamlin won the Sprint Cup race while Kyle Busch won the Nationwide event.