Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway was full of action and suspense; it was a perfect short track night race. Coming into this weekend Joey Logano and Penske Racing in general have a hard time of it lately. At Texas Motor Speedway both the cars of Logano and reigning champ Brad Keselowski were found to have illegal rear ends in pre-race inspection. Logano had to even start at the back of the field yet still pulled out a top five finish.
In the wake of the violations, NASCAR laid out heavy penalties for Logano and team including a 25 point deduction and the suspension of crew chief Todd Gordon for six weeks pending Penske’s appeal on Wednesday. Logano and Keselowski have both battled back well with these penalties hanging like thunder clouds over their heads.
At Richmond, Logano pulled off a surprising third place finish at the short track his top-five finish at the track since a fourth place finish in 2010. More importantly perhaps than the nice finish is that he didn’t cause any major drama to get it.
This season, the young Penske driver has become known more for his rivalries than anything. It was a crash between Logano and ex teammate Denny Hamlin that put Hamlin out of the Sprint Cup for four weeks now with a crushed spine. He also got into a bout with Tony Stewart for allegedly blocking him on the final laps at Auto Club Speedway.
Logano is laying down solid finishes before long he is bound to pull off a win. If he can stay steady this season he can make the Chase, which would justify resurgence with his new team.