Joey Logano won Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway, but readily conceded afterward that his No. 22 Team Penske Ford wasn’t the fastest car in the field.
Heck, he didn’t even have the fastest one in Penske’s two-car stable.
That belonged to Brad Keselowski, who finished second after leading on three different occasions for a total of 110 laps. Logano said he was well aware on the final restart of how fast the No. 2 Ford of his teammate was coming behind him.
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“Brad had, by far, the fastest car. … I knew the 2 was so much faster than everybody and I had to get out there as quick and as far as I could,” Logano said. “He was on his way to catch me. I think he was catching me a couple tenths a lap.”
Keselowski admitted that he wished the race could have lasted at least another five laps or so. But he also was pleased to be part of a 1-2 finish for Team Penske.
“I’m disappointed not to bring it home, but that’s just the way these things fall with double-file restarts and half the field staying out and half the field not,” Keselowski said. “You kind of take the good with the bad on those deals. I got the outside lane and got behind two or three cars that I’m pretty sure I lapped six times today. Somehow they’re on the lead lap through wave-arounds, and when the restart came we just were bottled up.
“By the time I cleared those guys, even though we were a little bit faster than Joey, he already had a straightaway on us. I felt like if I had five or 10 more laps, I could have gotten to him and passed him — but there was only a handful of laps left, so that was the way it went.”
Keselowski has been around what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series long enough to know the fastest car on any given race day isn’t guaranteed anything. He knew that even after he won Stage 2 of Sunday’s three-stage race.
“That’s part of how this racing deal works, and the fastest car doesn’t always win,” Keselowski said. “It takes some weeks where you’re the fastest and you have to try to make the most of it and try and do all you can. I feel as a team we did that today.
“I’m frustrated to not bring it home, but proud of the effort and the speed we had today and leading laps and getting the stage win and so forth.”
He said he also was genuinely happy for his teammate, Logano, to earn his first victory of the season. Coupled with Keselowski’s two wins earlier this season at Atlanta and Martinsville, it virtually guarantees both teammates will be part of NASCAR’s playoffs when the 26-race regular season comes to a close.
He said that he and Logano push each other to be the best that they can be, and that is a good thing.
“There is obviously going to be a teammate dynamic, and there’s things that he does really well and things that I do differently and seem to do well,” Keselowski said. “But we of course push each other to be the best, but I think it’s really healthy. It is. And I’m happy to see him win accordingly.”