Joey Logano quietly finishes fourth at Sonoma

SONOMA, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 06: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Autotrader Ford, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 06, 2021 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Joey Logano led five laps at Sonoma Sunday. He raced his 13th place starting position and grabbed the top spot first on lap 65 then again on lap 73. He was the last driver to have a shot at stealing the win from Kyle Larson.

As it turned out, no one had anything for Larson who was able to get past Logano on lap 76 and never looked back.

Logano had to settle for fourth, and he was okay with that.

“We’ll take it,” Logano said. “We had the tire issue the first run and that got our strategy off.  Paul did some different things and we were able to get some stage points in the second stage.  We had nothing to beat the 5 (Larson), if I’m being honest, but our Autotrader Mustang was good enough to finish top three or four.

“We kind of did that one stop strategy the last run there and got to where we were probably a third-place car if we had the same tires as the cars racing around us, but, overall, we’ll take that considering how it was looking in the beginning.”

Not only was Logano driving one of only two Fords that finished inside the top 10 (Ryan Blaney was the other finishing 10th), Logano now has top 5 finishes in three of the last four road course races NASCAR has run dating back to last season.

“I like to think we’re getting  pretty decent at them,” Logano said. “I’m a little bit more confident and racing better.  I feel like around cars I’m pretty aggressive.  I’m making the passes and can make it happen.

“You watch drivers like AJ and Ambrose and watching those guys over the years, for me, maybe I’m dating myself a bit, but you watch them and how they make passes and I feel like I’m to a point where I can feel confident sending it down in there and making a clean pass, but an aggressive pass, and I’ve got a car that can do it.

“I wouldn’t say we’re clicking because we didn’t win, but I think we’re in the ballpark and we’re making small gains.  It’s hard to make the big gain.  The Hendrick cars are just better no matter where you’re at.  They’re just better right now, so we have to keep our heads down and keep digging, but know that our 750 stuff is in the ballpark so that part is nice to know.  Overall, to overcome the tire issue that we had early in the race and then our Autotrader Mustang got some stage points in the second stage and having good long run speed made the strategy work at the end to get us to the front and hang onto it “

Greg Engle