Joey Logano’s chance of winning doomed by pit-road penalty, hard crash

AVONDALE, Az. — If you don’t like how a particular Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is going, hang around. Chances are pretty good things will change.

Consider if you will, the case of Joey Logano in Sunday’s Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway.

Logano qualified on the pole for the race, was fastest in the final Happy Hour practice on Saturday and drubbed the field in the first 75-lap stage of Sunday’s race, leading 74 laps to take the stage victory.

And when Ryan Newman took the checkered flag at the end of the race to break a 112-race winless streak, Logano was way back in 31st place.

Two situations doomed Logano’s chances of winning in the Team Penske Ford at Phoenix.

The first was his own doing — Logano was caught speeding on pit road Lap 119.

And the second, which was far more crushing, was a melted bead on his right-front tire on Lap 307 of the race, which was scheduled for 312 laps but wound up going 314 laps because of the overtime caused by Logano’s caution.

What started out being a great day for Logano turned out to be an awful one.

“There is not much you can do when the right front blows out,” said Logano. “We had a good car in the beginning of the race and then just fell off and got a pit road speeding penalty and it was hard to get back up there.”

And so it wasn’t the day Logano or the team wanted.

“We were getting closer but out long run speed was off,” said Logano. “We have to figure out how to get faster here on the long run.”