While Joey Logano’s victory in the Nationwide race at Dover was his third straight Dover win, the driver of the No. 22 Hertz Ford for Penske Racing was fixated on firsts instead.
“There were a lot of firsts for me today,” Logano said in the media center after the race. “Winning for Hertz, winning for the No. 22 Nationwide team, and winning for Ford were all firsts.”
“And finally and most importantly, winning for Roger (Penske, team owner) was a first,” Logano continued. “That’s the coolest part of this win.”
“There is a huge list of great race car drivers that have won for Roger Penske,” Logano said. “It’s cool to have my name put on that list too.”
In spite of battling Cup drivers Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne, both of whom had cars good enough to contend for the win, Logano was confident that he had Miles the Monster under his control.
“This is one of those race tracks that I feel like I know what it takes to win and what I need in a race car,” Logano said. “I was able to get Jeremy (Bullins, crew chief) the feedback he needed to give that car to me.”
Logano admitted that he didn’t quite have that confidence, however, the night before the race.
“Last night, I felt like we still weren’t there,” Logano said. “We had decent speed in our car but I felt like we were a second place car and not quite good enough to win.”
“Jeremy and all the 22 team did a great job changing about everything on it,” Logano continued. “They got the car a little bit better.”
In the end, the race was won in the pits by a gutsy call from the crew chief according to Logano.
“Really the winning call was on that last pit stop,” Logano said. “Jeremy made an audible and decided to do two tires to beat out a lot of those guys.”
“To give us that track position was the biggest thing.”
Crew chief Jeremy Bullins could not agree more with his driver and race winner.
“Obviously he’s really good here to win three in a row at any track,” Bullins said. “He obviously knows how to get around here.”
“And he’s right,” Bullins continued. “We changed just about everything.”
“I thought we were better today but wasn’t sure if we were good enough to win,” Bullins said. “We went back and forth in track position.”
“In the end we were racing the 5 and the 54, who had been up front all day,” Bullins continued. “As soon as we saw they were taking four, we called it off and took two.”
“The guys did a good job.”
Logano may have had another first in mind, that of beating that 54 car, driven by fellow Cup competitor Kyle Busch.
“It feels good, especially since this year he (Kyle Busch) has been winning everything,” Logano said. “To finally beat that 54 car, that was the team I worked with for the last seven years or so since my Nationwide debut really felt good.”
“To beat them means a lot to me after they have been winning so much this year,” Logano continued. “I wanted to beat them really bad and to get here in Victory Lane, you have to beat everyone.”
“They had a strong car again today but my man Jeremy made the right call for us.”
The victory was also Logano’s 19th in 114 NASCAR Nationwide Series races and his fourth top-10 finish for the season.
Following closely behind Logano was Brian Vickers in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Vickers finished second and had the best finish of his season to date.
“The guys did a good job,” Vickers said. “But we just needed a little bit more right, one spot more right.”
“Obviously we wanted to get a win and get this Dollar General in Victory Lane,” Vickers continued. “But we were able to give $1.63 million dollars to Autism Speaks from the customers and Dollar General.”
“It’s phenomenal for them,” Vickers said. “And to show their generosity for a top-10 finish today, all Dollar General customers get 10 percent off on Monday.”
Vickers also credited his crew chief with gutsy calls on the pit box, just as Logano had done with his crew chief.
“That was a great call on Kevin’s (Kidd, crew chief) part,” Vickers said. “It was a last minute call and it was one thousand percent the right call to keep track position.”
“We were close to even with Logano there at the end of the race,” Vickers continued. “He was probably a little better on the short run and we were a little bit better on the long run.”
Vickers admitted that he was “pleased but not satisfied” with his runner up status.
“On one hand, I’m very excited – it was a great points day for the Dollar General team,” Vickers said. “But on the other hand – we wanted to win.”
“We were so close.”
This was Vickers fifth top-10 finish in six races at the Monster Mile. It was his sixth top-10 finish of the season.
Another Cup regular, Matt Kenseth, rounded out the top three in the 32nd annual 5-Hour Energy 200. Kenseth posted his 11th top-10 finish in 19 races at Dover International Speedway.
“We had a decent GameStop Toyota and made it better there at the end,” Kenseth said. “Got two tires and was able to make up some ground.”
“I stalled it one time coming out of the pits and so we got ourselves behind,” Kenseth continued. “So, it was just hard to come back from that.”
Even though he was disappointed, Kenseth did have some fun at the Monster Mile.
“It was fun to go out and get 200 laps,” Kenseth said. “We were ten laps away from getting a win.”
“So that was fun.”
Trevor Bayne also had a decent day behind the wheel of the No. 6 Ford Ecoboost Mustang, finishing fourth. And he too accomplished that top-5 finish with a gutsy call in the pits.
“Yeah, that two-tire stop got us in the game there,” Bayne said. “We needed that to get some track position.”
“I was really proud of these guys and the car that they gave me,” Bayne continued. “We have had some bad runs but now we got a couple good ones in a row and we need to keep it going.”
“Top-fives are what we gotta knock out every weekend and eventually that will lead to Victory Lane.”
Kyle Busch, who had been so strong in his No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing for much of the race, did pull off a fifth place finish. Unfortunately for him, pit strategy did not play to his favor, ruining a possible Dover sweep.
“It was a great race car,” Busch said simply. “Just real unfortunate that I messed up pit strategy there, you know.”
“Got us too far back,” Busch continued. “I tried to make some big moves there and a couple of them worked.”
“But a couple of them didn’t,” Busch said. “It is what it is.”
Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 32 Vizio/Hulu Chevrolet, was the top finishing rookie, scoring the tenth spot.
“We started out the first half of the race good through one and two,” Larson said. “We were really good there at the end but we lost a spot or two on every pit stop.”
“Track position was key today,” Larson continued. “Three top-10s in a row is great and I’m looking forward to Iowa.”