Joey Logano happy after third-place run, expecting a child with wife Brittany

Nigel Kinrade/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Joey Logano won the first race at Michigan International Speedway last season.

This year, he was lucky to finish third.

Logano endured a difficult day in the Irish Hills of Michigan, running in a  mid-pack slog for much of Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400. Only when a caution flag flew with 20 laps remaining did Logano and crew chief Todd Gordon find a possible avenue to a good finish.

Tires.

Logano was one of a handful of drivers to pit after debris forced the field into caution-flag conditions on Lap 180. The Middletown, Connecticut native emerged from pit road in 14th  – the first of those that came to pit road.

From there, it became a game of restarts and short runs, and Logano excelled.

Coming to the final restart, the Team Penske shoe found himself in the second row, pushing leader and eventual winner Kyle Larson. Logano wasn’t able to maneuver his way by Larson or Chase Elliott on the ensuing sprint to the finish, but got the better of Denny Hamlin to snag a third-place finish.

A typical third-place run for Logano would’ve yielded a dejected mood. But given the context of the 27-year-old’s prior six races – NASCAR’s first encumbered victory and five finishes outside of the top 20 among them – Logano was overjoyed to tally a top five.

“You have no idea how good this feels,” Logano said. “Feels like a win, just to stop the bleeding. No secret, last month, month and a half, has been a struggle for us with just a lot of things going wrong during the races. This was an uneventful race for us.”

Logano also gave credit to his crew chief, Gordon, whose call saved what would’ve been a disastrous day.

“Todd was able to make some good calls there,” Logano said. “A lot of times Todd makes calls and it confuses me. I go, ‘Why did you do that?’ I never actually say it, I keep my mouth shut because I know it works out at the end. It did again.”

While he fell short of a playoff-clinching victory, Logano’s run stopped a hemorrhaging of points that began when his spring win at Richmond International Raceway was deemed an encumbered finish.

At one point, Logano sat as high as third in the championship standings. However, his struggles, paired with wins from Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Ryan Blaney and Austin Dillon, pushed the 27-year-old driver back to the playoff bubble entering Michigan.

He’s still within range of the bubble, but Logano’s Michigan comeback kept him seven points clear of the playoff bubble in a tie with Matt Kenseth for 10th in the series standings.

One on the Way

Shortly after the race, Logano took to social media to share an additional bit of good news with his fans – a little Logano is on the way.

The Team Penske driver announced on Twitter that he and wife Brittany are expecting a child at the beginning of 2018 – a fitting announcement to end Father’s Day weekend.

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