Race Weekend Central

Monday Morning Pit Box: Joey Logano’s Rough 2024 Continues With Speeding Penalty at Darlington

For Brad Keselowski, the long wait to return to victory lane is finally over. Keselowski contended all day and capitalized on contact between Tyler Reddick and Chris Buescher to snap a 110-race winless streak with a win in the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway.

While there was a lot of action on track, the pit lane stayed largely quiet at The Track Too Tough to Tame. Teams up and down pit road took four tires on every pit stop, out of respect to Darlington and its abrasive surface that eats away at Goodyears. NASCAR officials did not have much to do either, dishing out only a couple of noteworthy penalties.

See also
Brad Keselowski Breaks 110-Race Winless Streak at Darlington, Earns 1st 2024 Win for Ford

Joey Logano Sidetracked by Speeding Penalty

While Keselowski basked in the glories of victory, his former Team Penske teammate Joey Logano wallowed in another lost weekend. It looked as though Logano was well on his way to a great finish on Sunday, finishing fourth in stage two and running in the top five for most of stage three.

But Logano’s day went south during the final pit stops of the day on lap 255 following Kyle Larson’s spin. Logano pitted the No. 22 Penske Ford from the sixth position, with the potential to restart in the top five with a good stop. However, the two-time Cup Series champion’s track position got erased by a speeding penalty, the only time all day that a driver went too fast on the pit lane.

Consequently, Logano fell back to the tail of the field on the ensuing restart with just 33 laps left, nowhere near enough time to get back to the front. Just like that, what looked like at worst a top-10 finish turned into an underwhelming 21st-place showing for the No. 22 team.

Darlington is the latest chapter in a disappointing start to the 2024 season for Logano. Through 13 races, Logano has just one top five to his name, a runner-up finish at Richmond and three top 10s. Furthermore, Darlington marks Logano’s sixth finish outside the top 20 so far in 2024. If the playoffs started today, Logano would be on the outside looking in, 30 points below the cutline.

The two-time champion and the No. 22 Penske team have some serious adjustments to become a part of the championship conversation.

Reddick Adds Insult to Injury With Commitment Line Violation

Reddick stood out as the dominant driver at Darlington, leading 174 of 293 laps as well as winning stage two. But it all went wrong after Reddick made contact with Buescher battling for the lead, cutting the right rear tire on his No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota.

To make matters worse, Reddick ran over the orange box marking the edge of the pit road commitment line. That violation resulted in a pass-through penalty, and a potential second win of 2024 turned into a 32nd-place finish, two laps off the pace.

See also
Chris Buescher Confronts Tyler Reddick After Late-Race Contact at Darlington

Look Ahead to Next Week

The drivers of the NASCAR Cup Series will take a break from points racing with the annual NASCAR All-Star Race on Sunday, May 19 at North Wilkesboro Speedway. This year’s All-Star Race format presents opportunities for crew chiefs and pit crews to have moments in the spotlight.

Teams will have two different kinds of tires to choose from: a “prime” tire as well as an “option” tire with more grip and faster wear. On lap 100 of the 200-lap race, all teams will conduct a mandatory four-tire pit stop, during which they can put on either the prime or option tire. It will be intriguing to see how the mandatory pit stop and the two kinds of tires play a part in determining who wins a million dollars next Sunday.  

About the author

Andrew Stoddard joined Frontstretch in May of 2022 as an iRacing contributor. He is a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College, the University of Richmond, and VCU. He has a new day job as an athletic communications specialist at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va.

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kb

Sad to see last year and this for Logano. He is a driver that continually makes lemonade out of lemons, despite what is given him by Paul Wolfe, the guys who are supposed to make cars fast and others. He is an excellent driver that should have the best, Fords suck. But even a blind squirrel gets a nut! Congrats Brad!

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