Logano makes Chase for the Sprint Cup bid

HUNTERSVILLE – Joey Logano had the fastest car for much of the late stages in the rain-delayed Duck Commander 500 April 7 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Seconds before crossing the white flag with the lead, NASCAR threw a caution flag for debris. Logano pitted for four tires, restarted third and passed Jeff Gordon for the win on the final lap.

The win marks the fourth of Logano’s career and his second with Team Penske. Logano’s No. 22 Pennzoil Ford became the seventh different car to win a Sprint Cup race in as many events in the 2014 season, but with the new ‘win-and-you’re-in’ format in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Logano’s bid for the title fight is all but clinched.

The Huntersville resident and former Joe Gibbs Racing driver nearly won at Phoenix International Raceway in March before settling for third and telling FOX Sports after the race that “second or third doesn’t matter.”

He made sure his race at Texas mattered. Logano, 23, led a race-high 108 laps, and cemented his status as a contender by moving up to fourth in series standings. His win also made him the youngest Sprint Cup winner in the 17-year history of Texas Motor Speedway.

Logano is also the only Sprint Cup driver to qualify for every round of knockout qualifying this season.

 

Busch comes up short twice

HUNTERSVILLE – Kyle Busch led the Joe Gibbs Racing brigade in two races at Texas Motor Speedway, but he didn’t leave with the trophy after either event.

Busch wound up second in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 on April 5 after a late-race duel with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and eventual winner Chase Elliott.

The veteran JGR driver and the winningest Nationwide Series competitor this season didn’t have it any easier two days later in the Sprint Cup race.

Busch was competitive throughout the Duck Commander 500 at Texas, but a late-race caution and ensuing pit strategy could only help Busch muster a third-place result. He ranks fifth in Sprint Cup standings.

 

Waltrip cars strong at Texas

CORNELIUS – Michael Waltrip Racing hasn’t won a Sprint Cup race since July 2013 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but the Cornelius-based team had something to smile about on April 7.

MWR had both its full-time drivers, Brian Vickers (fourth) and Clint Bowyer (eighth) finish in the top 10 at the Duck Commander 500 at Texas.

Vickers overcame older left-side tires in the race’s final two-lap stint to hold onto his first top-five finish of the season.

Bowyer, who was in contention to win the March 30 STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway before a late-race pit issue, had another strong race at Texas.

The team’s top driver finished second in points in 2012, but hasn’t won a race since October 2012 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He’s 17th in points after seven races.

Vickers ranks ninth, with one top-five and three top-10 finishes.