Published on March 15th, 2015 | by NASCAR Wire Service0
Logano Dominates Phoenix
Joey Logano summed up his dominating victory in one word.
“Finally!” Logano exclaimed after taking the checkered flag in Saturday’s Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Logano had reason to be frustrated. He had finished second in his last four Xfinity Series starts, the last three after winning the pole. And the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford hadn’t been to Victory Lane in the series since Sept. 28, 2013 at Dover International Speedway.
On Saturday, however, Logano won the pole and closed the deal. Though race runner-up Matt Kenseth dogged his rear bumper all day long and closed to .294 seconds at the finish, he couldn’t catch the No. 22 Ford, which led 176 of the 200 laps at the one-mile track.
“It felt good,” said Logano, who collected his second win at Phoenix and the 22nd of his career. “It took a long time to get our next win. We’ve been so close to winning — obviously, a lot of poles and things are going well. We just needed a little more speed, and it was awesome to get it today.”
Logano, who posted the second perfect driver rating of his career, pulled away after a restart on Lap 144 and stayed out front the rest of the way, with Kenseth in close pursuit.
“I was able to take off faster on restarts and get a nice lead and then Matt’s car was looser than mine, so that is why I was able to get a lead,” Logano said. “Once we started running a few laps, I would get tight and he would start catching up to me because his balance was a little more free.
“I kept hoping for lapped traffic, because I was better in traffic, and that’s where I made up time.”
Kenseth thought he had a better car for the longer runs, but traffic and dirty air proved his downfall.
“For whatever reason, after our last pit stop, we just didn’t fire off as fast,” Kenseth said. “I had way less grip than (after) every other pit stop… He (Logano) got away pretty good, and then when it was time to go, I just got tight running him down with all the lapped cars, and I couldn’t quite get there.”
Kevin Harvick ran third, followed by Austin Dillon and Erik Jones, subbing for injured Kyle Busch in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Ty Dillon came home sixth and retained the series lead by 14 points over 14th-place finisher Chris Buescher.