Ford stood a good chance at taking home this year’s 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, with Joey Logano looking as strong as ever heading into the championship round of the Chase at Homestead-Miami speedway Sunday. Logano ran near the front of the pack for the majority of the race, but a mistake in the closing laps ultimately cost the 24-year old his championship bid.
Throughout the Ford-sponsored EcoBoost 400, Logano held pace and even ran ahead of eventual race and championship winner Kevin Harvick and runner-up Ryan Newman. He was running in the top-ten when he pitted for new tires with less than 20 laps to go in the race. His car ended up falling off the jack, wasting precious time and causing him to exit pit road in 21st.
“It was a heck of a race up there. I screwed up and hit the wall early and we were able to recover then had the mistake on pit road which didn’t give us enough time to recover from that,” a disappointed Logano said post race. “It is unfortunate. Execution was our strong point all year and we just didn’t do it tonight. For that reason we finished fourth after I think we scored the most points this whole Chase.”
The pit road mishap wasn’t the beginning of Logano’s late-race bad luck streak. He was running second when he scraped the wall, forcing him to take a pit stop. That pit stop, along with two others, were monumentally slow, causing the normally competitive Ford driver to fall through the ranks. Logano was a favorite to win the race before the green flag had flown, making the disappointment he expressed in himself and his team understandable.
“I am proud of them (his team) but it is hard to be proud right now after coming home wherever we finshed in this race. I don’t even know what that is. I don’t even care. You don’t get shots at championships often. Hopefully we get another next year. This car had a lot of wins and a lot of top fives and it doesn’t mean a thing,” Logano said.
Ford was also likely disappointed in the outcome, however Brad Keselowski, who was knocked out of the Chase last week, raced to a solid third place finish, taking some of the sting out of Logano’s performance.