Saturday night’s 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway played out much like the rest of the season for the No. 20 GameStop Toyota. The day started with a pole position; Joey’s eighth pole of the season, and finished with a top-10 run, giving Joey top-10s in 24 of his 25 races this season.
Joey started the day by winning the pole for the Homestead 300, extending his season-best pole streak to eight poles in 2010. It is also Joey’s second pole at Homestead, his first coming in 2008. Logano lined up beside his Joe Gibbs racing teammate Kyle Busch at the drop of the green, falling behind Busch for the race’s first segment. Logano logged laps in second until the first round of stops and subsequent restart, when Joey took the lead for the first time.
Logano led the next 17 laps before losing the top spot to Kevin Harvick as Logano’s car tightened up between multiple caution flag periods.
Over the next 150 laps, the GameStop team, led by crew chief Kevin Kidd, made a plethora of adjustments to the No. 20 Toyota, from wedge and track bar adjustments, to air pressure changes and even taking out a rubber from the left rear.
The car continued to go from tight to loose to tight during the late stages when the team elected to pit and put on scuffs and save their final set of sticker tires for the end. On lap 163, the team came in for their final stop and got their sticker tires, restarting in 19th place for their final charge to the front.
Logano moved through the field quickly, taking just 10 laps to find himself back in the top 10. However, the GameStop Toyota got super tight over the races final 20 laps, forcing Logano to lose his momentum and eventually settle for a seventh at the checkers.
Logano finished the season with two wins, 15 top-fives and 24 top-10s in 25 season starts. In addition, Logano picked up a season-best eight pole awards, which was best among all NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers.
Joey Logano Thoughts:
“It’s not the way we wanted to wrap up our 2010 season, but that just goes to show how competitive that we are; a top 10 just isn’t good enough for us. We are not happy until we go out and win races. We really wanted to go out on top and in victory lane. But, since we weren’t able to win tonight, I’m glad Kyle (Busch) was able to get to victory lane and also wrap up the owner’s championship. That’s big for Joe Gibbs Racing. Congrats to those guys. They have had a great season.
“I am glad that we were able to get another pole though. That really goes to show how fast our cars are and how much power these JGR engines make. That is eight poles for me this year and nine for the No. 20 team. I never really considered myself much the qualifier, but we showed a really strong part of our organization with that. It’s not easy to go out there and put the car on the pole, and we were able to do it a bunch this year.
“All-in-all, it was a really good year for us as a team and for GameStop. We had a lot of ups and downs. We were able to pick up a couple of wins and earn the most poles despite missing 10 races. We finished in the top10 in driver points as well, which was cool considering I ran such a part-time schedule. “I just wish we could have had a few more wins, but what racecar driver doesn’t ever think that?”
Kevin Kidd Quotes:
“We just couldn’t quite find the handle on the GameStop Toyota tonight. We struggled with being tight at the beginning. We got the car handling well in the middle, but were stuck in dirty air, which really affects these cars. Then, we got the car a little too free late in the race when we put our scuff tires back on. When we got our sticker tires, the car was good and Joey was making his run through the field, but just got tight late in the run. At that point, we were stuck with what we had. We made the best of it and got another top 10.
“I’m really proud of Joey, the road crew, our over the wall guys and all of the guys back at the JGR shops. They all had a great season. And congrats to our teammates on the No. 18 team for winning the owner’s championship. Of course, we would have liked to have won more races, but I don’t think we ever thought we would put it on the pole so many times either. We had a fun year and really came together as a team. I’m proud to say I led this team and grew with them. Now, we’ll just build off of this year and work toward next season. We’ve got our work cut out for us with the new car, so come Monday, it will be back at it for 2011.”