Joey Logano led Joe Gibbs Racing’s three-car contingent with an eighth-place finish in today’s FedEx 400 benefitting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway.
Meanwhile teammate Denny Hamlin would battle changing handling conditions to a 19th-place finish and Kyle Busch lost what appeared to be another top-five finish when his engine expired midway through the 400-mile race.
Logano, who dominated and won the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, qualified his Home Depot Toyota 11th for the start of today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Monster Mile. He would battle handling conditions for much of the day, but crew chief Jason Ratcliff and The Home Depot crew made outstanding adjustments with each stop and Logano raced his way into the top ten. He was running seventh and was set to challenge the leaders for a win or a certain top-five finish, but while riding under a late caution his engine cutoff costing him to lose several positions on the track. When the race finally restarted he had lost eight spots and was back in 15th. The setback did little to deter Logano however, climbing through the field and back inside the top ten for a solid eighth-place finish.
Hamlin, who ran a special paint scheme to recognize Autism Speaks with his FedEx Freight Toyota, earned the 10th starting position on the grid for today’s 400-mile battle against the Monster of Dover International Speedway. Unfortunately the changing track conditions and only a handful of cautions made it difficult for the FedEx crew to find the necessary balance on his No. 11 Camry. Hamlin’s car would shift from extremely loose to extremely tight and with long green flag runs, he would ultimately fall a lap off the pace. Hamlin would earn his way back onto the lead lap, but continued to be plagued by an ill-handling car and ended up with an 18th-place finish.
Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota in eighth and was strong through the early going as the managed to race his way inside the top five. Busch would keep his Camry up front through much of the first half of the race, but a vibration following a pit stop under caution sent him back to pit road on lap 168 prior to the restart. The return trip cost him track position, but the real issue would come during the next green flag run, when his engine would give way. The M&Ms crew took the car back into the garage, but the engine could not be repaired and Busch’s day was over on lap 202 of 400 and he would have to settle with a 29th-place finish.
Jimmie Johnson claimed the victory, with Kevin Harvick second, Matt Kenseth third, Dale Earnhardt, Jr fourth, and Greg Biffle rounded out the top five. There were seven cautions for a total of 32 laps with 17lead changes among seven different drivers.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to the newly repaved Pocono Raceway next Sunday. Coverage of the race shifts now to TNT with live coverage starting with their pre-race show at noon. (race beings at 1 PM ET). You can also keep track of all the action by following @joegibbsracing on twitter.