By: Drew Hierwarter
There’s an old saying in racing that it’s better to be lucky than good. It’s also better to simply be in the right place at the right time. Joey Logano was certainly in the right place when the rains came and brought the “Lennox Industrial Tools 301” at
After admittedly being; “. . . lost out there, trying to figure out where I needed to be,” and suffering through a spin caused by a cut tire and needing two “Lucky Dogs” to get back on the lead lap, Logano received the benefit of a gutsy call by veteran crew chief Greg Zipadelli to keep the 20 car on the track with fuel running low and rain moving in while other competitors pitted for a run to the end that never came.
“He (Zipadelli) went for it, and I was just lucky enough to be in the seat,” Logano said. There’s that better lucky than good concept.
But there’s no shame about lucking into a win in the highly competitive world of NASCAR’s premier race series. Even four time Champion Jeff Gordon believes it. “You win ‘em any way you possibly can,” Gordon said. “I’ve won because we made a great call and stayed out and it rained.”
Playing the rain game from on top of the tool box is just as much of a legitimate strategy as adjusting springs and shocks and Greg Zipadelli played it to perfection and was committed to it. They were going to gamble and stay out on the race track no matter what. Logano had about 6 or 7 laps of fuel remaining and he was either going to win the race or run out of fuel trying.
That his first win came at Loudon was also very special for young Logano. He is a native of
There was much criticism of Joe Gibbs for moving Logano up to replace Tony Stewart so early in his career. Many felt he wasn’t ready and, in truth, Logano has struggled trying to find his way. But this win is a small bit of vindication for the decision and gives everyone on the team a confidence boost. It may not be the way you most want to win your first race, but there will be no asterisk beside it in the record book.