Riding high from his Daytona 500 victory last Sunday, Logano kept the pressure coming Friday by winning the pole for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and later captured the top starting spot for Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at AMS.
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But in the final laps of Saturday’s Hisense 250 XFINITY Series race, Logano finally met his match.
Leading comfortably when the final caution flag waved with 30 laps to go for fluid on the track, Logano came off pit road in second behind Kevin Harvick — whom he had just passed seven laps earlier. Logano never led again.
Restarting on the inside line with 24 laps to go, Harvick sped away from Logano and cruised to his third consecutive XFINITY Series victory at the 1.54-mile suburban Atlanta track.
"That pit stop is what won this race," said Harvick, who led 101 of 163 laps in his No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. "Joey probably had a little bit better car the second half of the run, and it really played out for us there at the end as we were able to have that short run and take off."
Logano, who led the opening 49 laps and 59 laps on the day, held on to finish second despite battling a vibration in the final laps. Logano believed the left-rear wheel on his No. 22 Team Penske Ford was loose on the final run.
"This is as close as anyone’s been to beating Kevin here in a long time," said Logano, who after initially falling back on the final restart seemed to be making up ground on Harvick before experiencing the vibration. "I felt pretty good about our car, and we came down pit road and got beat off pit road, and had a decent restart for the outside lane — the outside lane’s so tough — and I thought, ‘OK, I can be door-to-door with him and try to get him loose underneath me,’ and the 9 (Chase Elliott) was able to push him out ahead.
"At that point I was just trying to move around different lanes, trying to find something for some speed, and we were starting to catch him, and then I just had this vibration. The left rear was just loose, so at that point I was just trying to survive."
Ty Dillon, Chris Buescher and reigning series champion Chase Elliott completed the top five.
With two races down, Dillon and Buescher are tied for the series points lead.
Daytona winner Ryan Reed is third in the standings, eight points back.