It didn’t take long for Joey Logano’s day to turn bad Sunday.
Just nine laps into the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, the left rear tire on Logano’s No. 22 Ford blew. The resulting damage caused Logano to take his car to the garage. He finally returned to the race, finishing 40th and 66 laps behind winner Jimmie Johnson.
“(The tire) just blew apart off of Turn 2,” Logano said. “The left rear tire came apart and shredded everything inside the car. It did a lot more damage than just the tire blowing apart.”
It wasn’t long ago that Logano was dominating the Chase. After sweeping all three races in the second round, Logano appeared to be on the way to another victory last week at Martinsville.
But Matt Kenseth wrecked Logano late in the race, in apparent retaliation for Logano’s taking out Kenseth at Kansas two weeks earlier. Logano would finish 37th.
Although NASCAR suspended Kenseth for two races, it dropped Logano to eighth in the standings heading to Texas.
That’s where he remained after Sunday’s race. He’s 63 points behind fourth-place Martin Truex Jr., meaning it’s mathematically impossible for Logano to advance on points to the Chase championship round Nov. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
He must win next week at Phoenix International Speedway to advance. He’s never won at Phoenix, with a third-place in 2010 being his best finish.
“We needed to win (Sunday),” Logano said. “We aren’t out of it, though. This team isn’t quitting yet. It just wasn’t in the plans today.”
Logano said that he knew his chances for winning Sunday blew up with the tire. At that point, it didn’t matter where he finished. So he patiently waited while his crew put the car back together, missing a about one-fifth of the race.
“If we finished second (Sunday), we would be in the same boat going into Phoenix,” Logano said. “I feel great about our chances at Phoenix. It has been a great race track for us in the past. I felt like (Texas) was a great one for us as well. It is unfortunate that we finished how we did. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. We will be ready for Phoenix.”