Logano wins first race in three yearsLONG POND, Pa. (AP) — Joey Logano stood on top of the No. 20 high-fiving everyone he could reach in Victory Lane. Beverages were sprayed, fists were pumped and throaty shouts of celebration could be heard well down the 2 1/2-mile track.
By: Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
LONG POND, Pa. (AP) — Joey Logano stood on top of the No. 20 high-fiving everyone he could reach in Victory Lane. Beverages were sprayed, fists were pumped and throaty shouts of celebration could be heard well down the 2 1/2-mile track.
It's what winning a Sprint Cup race is all about.
It's what Logano has waited years to truly experience. Not rain or Mark Martin would deny him this feeling.
Logano gave a crafty Martin a well-timed nudge out of the way in the closing laps Sunday at Pocono Raceway to clinch his first victory since 2009 and become the first Sprint Cup driver this season to win from the pole.
The one-time prodigy and the grizzled veteran pushing hard down the stretch was a duel to remember at Pocono.
“I didn't stop screaming until I got to Victory Lane,” Logano said. “You work so hard to do this.”
This one felt like the first time for Logano after his only other career win in 125 Sprint Cup starts was a rain-shortened victory at New Hampshire. Wins count the same in the record book. But they sure do feel different.
“When you cross the line and you've won the race, to me, it's an amazing feeling,” Logano said.
Logano had the top car all weekend, posting the fastest practice time Friday and then taking the pole Saturday.
Logano, once a much-hyped phenom when he broke in with Joe Gibbs Racing, was under pressure to produce victories in the final year of his four-year contract.
Logano's win continues a recent uptick of solid results in the Cup series. He has insisted this season his contract status has not added pressure.
But in Victory Lane, he hoped the victory sent a message to his critics.
“I hope it shuts them all up,” he said. “It means a whole lot.”
He shoved aside one of his earliest supporters to take the checkered flag. Martin saw Logano race at 11 years old and raved about his potential as future Cup champion. Back in 2005, Martin said Logano “can be one of the greatest that ever raced in NASCAR.”
Logano signed a developmental with JGR and made his NASCAR national level debut at 18 in the Nationwide Series. He was so full of promise, he was dubbed “Sliced Bread.” As in, greatest thing since ...
Not quite. Logano had the one victory and never finished higher than 16th in the standings in three full Cup seasons. He's 15th this year and has no deal with JGR for next season.
“I haven't been informed where I stand for next year yet, so that's all up in the air,” Logano said. “Obviously, winning a race means a lot and it helps that out a ton. For sure, right now, my future's not set with anybody.”