It pays to have a strong teammate that’s already seen some success in the season to lean on to get something going. But, at the same time, they must worry about themselves in order to get things started.
At the beginning of Sunday’s action at Richmond, it was Joey Logano’s team that found themselves having to work a little harder in order to get their day going. When the team had to swap out the transmission in the No. 22 Ford prior to the race, it meant surrendering the fifth-place spot in the line-up at the green flag. At a place like Richmond, where laps happen quickly, falling behind early is never a good thing.
But, by the time the first stage ended, Logano was in the top-10. After stage two, he was still there.
With under 20 laps left, Logano found himself in position to go from the back of the pack to the front, after not having led one lap all afternoon. It was back to front, and at the end of the afternoon, Logano was hoisting a Coca-Cola and the steering wheel in victory lane, celebrating his first win of 2017, and his spot in the playoffs this season.
His win was huge for a pair of participants. It was the first win of their season, but also the points lead has spread even more with a victory.
Here’s where everyone now stands after the Toyota Owners 400:
Rob Tiongson (347) Joe Logano WON –  1
Ashley Hull (299) Kurt Busch finished 8th –  7
Ashley Hobbs (293) Kyle Busch finished 16th –  6
Dalton Hastings (291) Jimmie Johnson finished 11th –  2
Billy Fellin (266) Joey Logano WON –  2
Rob Blount (261) Kyle Busch finished 16th –  0
Misan Akuya (260) Chase Elliott finished 24th –  9
Penny Whitecotton (257) Kevin Harvick finished 5th –  1
Klarissa Mitchell (233) Jamie McMurray finished 6th –  0
Patti Rodisch (223) Chase Elliott finished 24th –  8
Ashley McCubbin (223) Chase Elliott finished 24th –  2
Sal Sigala Jr. (221) Kyle Larson finished 14th –  5
Dustin Parks (218) Denny Hamlin finished 3rd –  1
AUTHOR NOTE: On Thursday, NASCAR announced that despite Joey Logano winning the race, after his car was taken to the R&D Center in Charlotte, he was found to be in violation of NASCAR rules. Logano’s win has now been encumbered.
He was docked 25 points, his team docked 25 owner points, and Todd Gordon is suspended the next two weeks. Penske Racing will not appeal the penalties.
Logano’s win also means the five playoff points he earned for the win cannot be used for seeding in the NASCAR playoffs in September. In addition, the win does not count as an automatic playoff spot.
With a pair of victories from Sunday’s race in the League, I am also imposing the same penalties on those who chose Logano for victory. Each has been docked the same 25 points that were deducted by NASCAR. Playoff implications are also being taken in the League as well.
Because there are only 13 participants this year for Fantasy Racing, what I am doing is taking away those five playoff points from the two winners this week. They will keep the win on their record for the season.
Next Race: If Richmond is considered “Racing Perfection” for NASCAR, then the next stop could be considered the Racing tornado. The reason being…in an instant, the calm can be disturbed. The pack of cars can run together, but must rely on one another to stay together. It isn’t horsepower that will win next week, but instead it’s trust, hope, and luck.
Next Sunday, the beast of a speedway welcomes the sport, and NASCAR is prepared to bring the plates for the engines back to keep these cars under control. At least, somewhat under control.
Up next on the schedule is the 2.66-mile monster called Talladega, a track that has seen photo finishes, and massive pileups.
Writers, this track has always been one where it’s about positioning at the right moment, and where to make that winning move. Is it the last lap, or is it coming to the start of the last lap? Either way, your choices for victory, or survival, are due on what is always deemed “Star Wars Day” by so many fans of the famed series, May 4, at 10 p.m. ET for the GEICO 500.