The clear hard-luck victim in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway was Joey Logano, the only driver with the speed to keep up — mostly –with his race-winning teammate Brad Keselowski.
Logano, who previously had won three NASCAR Nationwide Series races at the 1.5-mile track, qualified second to Keselowski and ran with his Team Penske teammate for much of the evening.
In fact, thanks mostly to some crack work on pit road, Logano led on five different times for a total of 37 laps, second only to Keselowski’s 199 laps led. While Keselowski dominated, Logano looked for sure like he was going to at least finish second.
At least until the engine started going away in Logano’s car in the closing laps.
"I had a ninth-place finish down a cylinder. That was a good effort by my guys," said Logano. "They kicked some butt on pit road. I was so proud of them there. We’ve been struggling a little bit there and they figured it back out, so it’s great to have a good group of guys behind me again that were fighting for wins and contending to lead a lot of laps after pit stops."
That said, as fast as Logano’s Ford Fusion was, he couldn’t quite keep up with his teammate.
"Brad had the best car," Logano said. "Brad was ridiculously fast from the time he unloaded. I can see what he’s doing. I can see what he’s got in his car and everything, he’s just fast."
Still, there was a tinge of disappointment in Logano’s feelings about coming home in the top 10 when he should have finished second.
"We’ll have to kind of go back and see what he’s doing, but, overall, I feel like today should have been a Penske 1-2 finish," Logano said. "I think Team Penske dominated Kentucky this weekend, it’s just unfortunate we dropped a cylinder there, but it’s still a top-10 out of being down one cylinder. We’ll take that."