Talk about confidence. Less than 24 hours after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International, Joey Logano was no doubt looking for a weekend sweep.
Those hopes ended on the first lap Sunday.
After starting sixth, Logano was caught up in a wild first lap that ended with the nose of his Ford damaged and spewing fluid. Not sure what the damage was, Logano’s crew chief made an error. Instead of calling his driver to his pit stall, Todd Gordon sent his driver directly to the garage.
That was a big mistake.
Under NASCAR’s damaged car policy, a car can only go to the garage during a race to fix mechanical damage. When the damage is caused by contact a trip to the garage is ‘game over’.
That’s what happened Sunday. Logano parked his car in the garage and was told by NASCAR officials that his day was done.
“I don’t really know what happened in the garage on how the whole repair situation repair is,” Logano said. “I don’t know. It’s somewhat confusing, I think, to all of us to try to understand exactly how that works, so I don’t really know what happened there.
“But on the race track we were actually racing the heck out of each other at the start of the race. It was fun. I was trying to keep the nose on the car and was gonna try to make a run on Larson off the carousel and I was right on him when they checked up in front of him. He lifted and there was nothing he was supposed to do. He checked up and I ran into the back of him and there’s just not enough bumper on the front of my car apparently and it just knocked the radiator out of it.”
Last season Gordon took the blame for not pitting Logano to repair a tire rub late in the fall race at Charlotte. Logano blew a tire and caused a caution that ultimately led to Logan’s Team Penske teammate losing the race and likely a spot in NASCAR’s championship.
Sunday’s DNF for Logano was his second of 2018. Gordon did later say however that the damage to Logano’s car was too extensive to have been repaired and he would have been forced to retire from the race no matter the ruling.