You want to know about mixed emotions? Just ask Joey Logano after Sunday night’s rain-shortened and rain-delayed AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Logano and his No. 22 Team Penske Ford had a solid night deep in the heart of Texas, finishing second behind race winner Carl Edwards.
And in the process, Logano moved from fifth in points to second, which gives him a solid opportunity to advance to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20.
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But the truth is, at Texas Logano had the dominant car on the night, leading 178 of 293 laps, compared to just 36 laps led for Edwards.
Had Logano won, he would have locked himself into the Chase finale. Instead, Edwards joins Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson as the first two of four drivers who’ll race for a title.
Now, Logano and five other drivers will go to Phoenix International Raceway this weekend, where the final two Chase spots will be decided.
And the missed opportunity on a night when he had the dominant car understandably frustrated Logano.
“When you are that close to winning and you lead the most laps, second stinks,” said Logano. “That is our goal every week, to win, and anything short of that is a failure. I feel like we were so close to that today.”
Still moving up into second in the standings was some consolation for Logano.
“We did gain some points,” he said. “We are in right now and we were out going into this race. We did the best we can as far as leading laps and getting those two bonus points with most laps lead as well but we didn’t get the win part. That would have been nice.”
To advance to Homestead with a chance to win the title, Logano will need another strong finish in Phoenix.
While Logano is second points now, he’s just two points ahead of fifth-place Denny Hamlin. The race for the final Chase spots should be epic, if ulcer-inducing for the participants.
“There are a lot of cars close going into Phoenix,” said Logano. “It will be entertaining. It will probably be the closest Phoenix race we have ever seen as far as points. It should be a fun one for sure.”