Joey Logano led 139 of 150 laps in a dominating win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in the Roseanne 300 at Auto Club Speedway. This is Logano’s 29th career victory in the Xfinity series, and third at Auto Club Speedway. He has never finished outside the top-10 and will start sixth for tomorrow’s NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race.
“Anytime you have new tires and everyone else doesn’t, it’s fun. It’s when you have the old tires and everyone else has got the new tires, that’s not fun,” Logano laughed when asked about the late race pit cycles.
“I felt sure that we had a car quick enough. The worry more than anything was a crash happening in front of us.”
Logano was only one of two Cup drivers starting this race, with Austin Dillon who finished fourth. It was asked during the press conference about carrying over any notes or on-track experience into tomorrow’s race.
“You know there are some things that you can learn from this race, and you only come out here once a year. The cars are very different, Cup cars and Xfinity cars. There were a couple things to carry over, you know, running against the wall, which will help you for the first couple of laps. You have an advantage for the first five laps. You know where the track is a little better. The cars that were fast earlier in practice today are gonna be very fast tomorrow, and I don’t think the advantage you get from running this race is so large that you’re going to smoke everyone tomorrow because you had more laps, but it does allow you to feel more comfortable and feel the race track sooner.”
JR Motorsports finish second and third with Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler, respectively. Elliott extends his point lead to four points over teammate Tyler Reddick.
“We worked really hard today,” Allgaier joyfully stated after feeling a successful weekend. “Yesterday in practice, we had a really strong Hellman’s Chevrolet and unfortunately when the race started, not that it was bad by any means, but some of the balance things that we felt like we were good with practice, today with the conditions being a little different, we needed to work on it a little. Jason (Burdett) made a great call there to pit towards the end, put tires on and catch the 22 off sequence, which we were kinda hoping it would take a little longer to get up front to battle him.
“The 22 was the class of the field today, I think they had everybody. Our west coast swing has been great, two seconds and a third. We’ve been chopping away at it. I wish we had a win, but all in all, whenever you get up to the front like that, it’s a good day.”
Despite hitting the wall, Daniel Hemric fought throughout the day and finished in the fifth position.
“I’m proud of our effort, not just today but over the past three or four weeks,” Hemric shared during a post-race conference session. “We kinda raced around the fifth to ninth place all day, and the racing to get by there is more intense. It seems like whenever you try to side draft somebody or someone side drafts you, here come three more with runs. Just proud to get to our best running position of the day there, and maintain and come home with the top five. And I hit the wall!”
Most of the first stage was eventless until Matt Mills in the No. 15 spun in Turn 2. There weren’t enough laps to clean up the incident to go back green, so the end of the first stage finished under yellow.
During the second stage, the No. 42 Chevrolet of John Hunter Nemechek blew his right front tire on the frontstretch in the closing laps. He didn’t collide with the wall, but the rubber caused substantial damage to the sheet metal. He would finish three laps down in the 29th position after starting in a hopeful third position.
Christopher Bell, who started on the pole, took FOX’s Helmet Cam for a wild ride over the weekend, being involved in two separate incidents during the final stage. The first was a spin coming out of Turn 4 and sliding through the front stretch grass. Only a few laps later, Michael Annett pinched him coming out of Turn 4 as they ground against the outside wall along the front stretch.
A few late-race cautions built some unique strategies into the closing laps of the race. Dylan Lupton, who went to a backup car after crashing in qualifying earlier in the day, lost a motor, which ended a long day for his No. 28 team. A few laps later, another caution was put out for debris found in Turn 2. At this time, Logano was one of only a few takers to come to pit road for fresh tires. He restarted in 16th, charged to the front, and took the lead within five laps. However, the final caution came out with around 10 laps remaining for more debris on the front stretch. At this time, almost everyone came to pit road, shuffling all the strategies, except for Ryan Sieg who inherited the lead for the final restart. Sieg was no competition against the fresh tires, as the field charged past him on the opening lap, allowing Logano to cruise to his third career win at the 2-mile oval.
Positions 6-10 were Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick (highest finishing rookie), Matt Tifft, Ryan Preece and Ross Chastain. Kaz Grala crashed coming to the checkered flag and finished in the 14th position, but was checked and released from the infield care center shortly after the press conference was completed.
Ironically, Logano is a big fan of the television show Roseanne.
“I feel like I watched Roseanne a long time ago on like Nic at Nite,” Logano shared, as Brian Wilson, Logano’s crew chief, added, “He was watching the re-runs. I was watching the originals.”
Joey continued talking about the trophy and winning the race.
“You know, I was kinda hoping when we pulled in here and I saw the Roseanne 300 banner over the walkway, I was thinking of what the trophy was going to look like, so I hoped it would be a big picture of her face. It’s still cool.”
Elliott Sadler leads the series points over teammates Tyler Reddick and Justin Allgaier. The NASCAR Xfinity Series races next in Texas on Saturday, April 7, and tickets can be purchased through the speedway website.
Xfinity Auto Club Speedway Unofficial Results 3-17-18