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Coca-Cola Racing Family roundup: Texas

November 04, 2013, RJ Kraft and Taylor Starer,

Logano's strong run at Texas helps him move up in the standings

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returned to a 1.5-mile track for the first time in three weeks with Sunday's race at Texas Motor Speedway.

The intermediate track provided a great run for Joey Logano, who finished third in the race. He also moved up in the point standings.

Denny Hamlin also had a strong run to score his third top-10 finish in the past four races.

A roundup of the Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers in order of how they finished at Texas:

Joey Logano (No. 22)

Penske Racing, Ford

Recap: It was a strong run for Logano at Texas. The 23-year-old spent nearly the entire race in the top 10 and spent most of the final 100 laps in the top five. Logano, who started 12th, also was credited with leading Lap 299. Logano would finish the race in third place, which was not only his best career finish at Texas, but also his second top-three finish of this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Quotable: "There were times in practice I thought we were one of the fastest cars here and some time in practice I thought we were a 10-15th place car. We went through our notes and made sure we understood all the changes and put together a fast race car today. From the start of the race we started moving our way forward and I thought I was a second or third place car all night."
His standing: Logano is ninth in the standings with 2,251 points.
Outlook: Logano has only raced nine times at Phoenix International Raceway. In those nine opportunities, Logano has not claimed a win, but he earned a top-five finish once in 2010.

Denny Hamlin (No. 11)

Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota 

Recap: With a seventh-place finish at Texas, Hamlin continued his strong racing over the final weeks of the season. Hamlin spent much of the race running in the top 15 and by Lap 260, had made his way into the top 10. After slipping back to 13th place on Lap 300, Hamlin made a late charge to finish seventh. This was Hamlin's third top-10 finish in the past four races.
Quotable: Hamlin was unavailable for comment.
His standing: Hamlin is 23rd in the standings with 689 points.
Outlook: Hamlin has fared well at Phoenix in 16 career races at the track. He won there in March of 2012 and has posted eight top-five finishes there. His last three runs at Phoenix have resulted in a win, a second-place finish and a third-place finish.

Ryan Newman (No. 39)

Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet 

Recap: Newman spent much of the race in the top 20, with his position peaking on Laps 240 and 241, when he held the lead. Newman battled a loose handling race car over the course of the afternoon, but was able to pilot his No. 39 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet to a ninth-place finish. That was his fifth top-10 finish in the Chase. Despite the top-10 finish at Texas, Newman has been mathematically eliminated from winning the Sprint Cup championship this season.
Quotable: "We fought with the handling of our Outback Steakhouse Chevy all day, but Matt (Borland, crew chief) and the team worked on it every stop, and it had gotten better. We just couldn’t get it to where I needed it to be. But in spite of how much we struggled today, to finish ninth was good. We'll certainly take that after the day we had."
His standing: Newman is 12th in the standings with 2,224 points.
Outlook: In Newman's 22 races at Phoenix, he's seen Victory Lane once -- in 2010. As for other personal marks, he has claimed eight top-fives, eight top-10s and four poles there. When Newman visited Phoenix earlier this year, he finished 40th and completed only 137 laps due to a crash.

Greg Biffle (No. 16)

Roush Fenway Racing, Ford 

Recap: At a place where he has two wins, Biffle had a bit of a strange day at Texas on Sunday. He ran consistently in the top 20 and was credited with leading Lap 300. However, it just seemed like the Biff was having a hard time making his way through the field over the course of the race. He finished 12th in the AAA Texas 500.
Quotable: "That was a tough one. The car wasn’t very good in traffic and it seemed like we missed maybe the front gaps a little bit on the start. We didn’t get it until it seemed like about 20 to go or 30 or 50 or whatever that last stop was. I don’t know. We just weren’t where we wanted to be. It was a tough day."
His standing:
Biffle is eighth in the standings with 2,269 points.
Outlook: Although Biffle has no wins at Phoenix in his 19 races there, he does have five top-fives and seven top-10 finishes under his belt. Perhaps a return to the desert will bring out another memorable finish for Biffle.

Danica Patrick (No. 10)

Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet 

Recap: It was a tough day at Texas for Patrick, who was consistently running in the back half of the field. Her car was too loose early and then when the temperatures cooled off, her car began handling too tight. The end result was a 25th-place finish that saw Patrick end the race three laps down. She did gain three spots in the standings, though.
Quotable: "We were loose early on, but then as it got cooler, it definitely tightened up. I’m proud of how hard everyone worked all weekend and throughout the race. Everyone kept their head up and worked hard to get it better."
Her standing:
Patrick is 25th in the standings with 611 points.
Outlook: With two starts at Phoenix, Patrick's average starting position is 38.5 and average finish of 28.0, with one DNF earlier this season due to a crash on Lap 184. In order for Patrick to better her finishing position, she needs to make an impact in her qualifying run in ensure she starts out on the right foot.

Tony Stewart (No. 14)

Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet 

Recap: Stewart missed his 13th consecutive race this past weekend and watched Mark Martin pilot his No. 14 Chevrolet to a 11th-place finish. Stewart is still nursing his broken leg and won’t return in 2013.
His standing:
Stewart is 29th in the standings with 594 points.