Joey Logano took first at the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway last Friday. It was his first win since joining Penske Racing, and the win wasn’t the only highlight of the day. Logano broke the track record of 203.241 mph previously helped by Marcos Ambrose. Logano’s No. Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion took the track at 203.949 mph. His qualifying lap enters the record books as the ninth fastest pole-winning lap in the history of the Sprint Cup Series.
Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson also bested Ambrose’s record, coming in as the second- and third-place qualifiers for the day. Driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., acknowledged the speed, saying, “The car’s got a lot of grip. I think the track is even more abrasive than the first trip here. The cars are carrying a little more speed than the first trip here in practice and qualifying.”
Overall, it was a pretty good day for Logano on the MIS, which has been described as the sport’s fastest track thanks to the greater amount of banking. He tailed Mark Martin, his childhood hero, in the final stages of the race, finally taking the lead when the No. 55 Toyota ran out of fuel with only three laps to go. Not only did he best Cup veterans Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, but he also moved from 16th place in series points to the number 13 spot. There are still three races left before the Chase for the Championship, and Logano’s momentum might push him far enough to make it.
Logano began racing in 2009 at Joe Gibbs racing. This win was the third in his Cup career and the first for 2013. The risk that Roger Penske took on the young driver has paid off. Penske, former owner of MIS during the early 1970s, called Logano’s win one of the biggest in 30 years. It was particularly meaningful since Penske hails from Detroit.
“What a great time to win, being in Ford’s backyard, being in Roger’s backyard,” Logano said in an after-race interview. “I’m glad to make the most of it.”
Rounding out the race’s top ten were Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch.
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