Early in the 2012 season, there have been a lot of rumblings about Joey Logano’s uncertain future at Joe Gibbs Racing. Critics have cited his inability to get to victory lane.
Consider those critics silenced.
Logano led a race-high 48 laps en route to his second career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory and his first at Pocono Raceway. Logano’s first win came in a rain-shortened race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2009. Today, Logano did not need to rely on good luck to find victory lane. He made his own luck.
Logano bumped his former mentor, Mark Martin, out of the lead with four laps to go and held on to win.
Martin recorded his seventh career second-place finish at Pocono. Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.
Johnson recovered from two speeding penalties exiting pit road, and Hamlin bounced back after running out of fuel early in the race.
Johnson was one of many drivers, 18 to be exact, penalized for speeding while exiting pit road. Every week there are a few penalties for speeding on pit road or other pit road mistakes, such as a missing lug nut on a tire or pitting outside the pit box, but 18 penalized drivers (some multiple offenders) is certainly an almost impossibility.
During the race broadcast, TNT attributed the errors to the relocation of timing lines used to measure speed on pit road. Instead of the nine timing lines during the previous races at Pocono, there are now 10 after the recent repave.
Even though many contenders had errors on pit road and other mistakes, today is still Logano’s day.
Logano is the first driver to win from the pole position in 31 races, an all-time record winless streak in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Ryan Newman is the most recent driver to win from the pole, when he won the September race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
With his win at Pocono, Logano and his race team have raced themselves into a potential wild-card Chase berth. If Logano can continue his recent success, he will certainly be in contention for a wild-card Chase berth and potentially many more victories.