NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Joey Logano turned his test and tune day Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway into an ARCA RE/MAX Series triumph.
Logano, in the Venturini Motorsports-prepared Home Depot Toyota, entered the Pocono ARCA 200 to get seat-time for the next-day Pocono 500 Cup race. The Middletown, Connecticut driver got that and plenty more as he led the most laps en route to his second series victory in his fourth series start.
"It's a good series to learn a lot," said Logano, who led 52 of 80 laps during the 200-mile race "For me, it helped me out a lot today to get some experience for the Sprint Cup race coming up here tomorrow. I definitely had a great race car today. We led, I'd say, most of the laps. The one time we got a little challenge but I think we were able to adjust the car and make it better. All the guys did a great job, we had good stops, came out first every time out of the pits so that was pretty cool. I had fun out here and I learned a lot."
The challenge that Logano referred to came from rookie Parker Kligerman, who after first-round pit stops, caught and passed Logano for the lead and began to pull away. However, Kligerman had two left-front tires go down resulting in two unscheduled pit stops that eventually relegated the Westport, Connecticut rookie to sixth in the final running order.
Outside of the mid-race challenge from Kligerman, Logano had no immediate challengers throughout the race, finishing nearly two seconds in front of second place finisher and current point leader Justin Lofton.
"We had a good day," said Lofton, who led the first 14 laps. "Eddie Sharp Racing prepares cars equally as good as anything on the Cup side, so I can't complain. It's getting a little frustrating running second everywhere, but we're building a pretty good point lead, so that's good. We only got a few laps of practice this morning so that didn't help, but all in all, we had a really good day."
Patrick Sheltra, in the Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge, finished third. "Feel like our season is turning around for us," said Sheltra. "The guys on the crew did a great job all day. We'll take it - good day for us."
Rookie Joey Coulter, after a tire went flat, battled back from one lap down to finish a career-best fourth in the Darrell Gwynn Foundation-Tempest Cycles Chevrolet.
"It got a little scary when we had that tire go down but it was early in the race and I knew once we made that pit stop we would need another caution so that we could get the lucky dog and we just kind of worked from there," Coulter said. "The pit crew did an awesome job and gained us I think like six spots the first stop and then they gained us another one or two or maybe three the second stop."
Matt Merrell finished fifth in the ColinsHope.org Dodge.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series heads to Michigan Int'l Speedway next Friday, June 12 for the Racing For Wildlife 200 live on SPEED at 5:00 PM.