Engine trouble derails Logano's bid for win
July 01, 2014, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
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SPARTA, Ky. -- He led five times for 37 laps and consistently beat his teammate off pit road for the lead. But a failing engine ended any hope Joey Logano had of winning Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.
Somehow, the engine didn't quit entirely, and the Team Penske driver nursed his No. 22 Ford home for a ninth-place finish.
"I was just in there (thinking), 'C'mon baby, c'mon baby, make it to the end!'" Logano said after his ninth top-10 of the season. "I was lifting early, trying to do what I could. It was definitely something in the valve train, just dropped one cylinder and was still plugging along.
"I made the comment it's like racing a 4-barrel Late Model versus a 2-barrel. I know that because I've done that before. It's hard to do that on a mile and a half."
Logano and teammate Brad Keselowski started on the front row and the two had the dominant cars for much of the race. It wasn't until lap 217 of the 267-lap race that someone from outside the Team Penske camp held the lead.
But while Keselowski went on to score his second victory of the season, Logano had to try and hold on to a top-10 finish.
"Brad had the best car," Logano conceded. "Brad was ridiculously fast from the time he unloaded. I can see what he's doing. I can see what he's got in his car and everything; he's just fast. We'll have to kind of go back and see what he's doing, but overall I feel like today should have been a Penske 1-2 finish.
"I think Team Penske dominated Kentucky this weekend, it's just unfortunate we dropped a cylinder there, but it's still a top-10 out of being down one cylinder. We'll take that."
Keselowski led the first 78 laps before Logano won the race off pit road and took the top spot under caution for a crash by rookie Kyle Larson. The lead was short-lived however, as Keselowski moved back on top just moments after the green flag reappeared.
The scene was repeated on four more occasions before Logano's engine began to falter. He was fourth, and more than two seconds behind the leader, with 40 laps remaining. By Lap 242, he had fallen to fifth. By the end, he had lost four more spots.
"We started 1-2, ran 1-2 all day," he said of himself and his teammate. "We should have finished 1-2. Things just happen, it's part of racing."