Rookie Joey Logano's acclimatisation to NASCAR Sprint Cup racing was in full view during Monday's rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, as the newcomer ran as high as fourth during the race, which was called after 227 of a scheduled 400 laps.

Under caution on lap 222, Logano brought his #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to the pits for four tyres and fuel, but lost positions when race winner David Reutimann, runner-up Ryan Newman and third-place finisher Robby Gordon gambled on the weather and stayed on the track.

Logano was eventually credited with a ninth-place run, matching the career best he posted in two of the previous three races, at Talladega and Darlington. Though the rain may have deprived him of a better finish, Logano, who turned 19 on Sunday, remained philosophical.

"A top ten is hard to be mad about," he claimed, "Could have been a blessing in disguise, could have been better, could have been worse. The only thing that I wish was different is that they brought us down pit-road and stopped up and let us change our tyres after we went back green [instead of opening pit-road when the final caution flew], because then we would have been sitting fourth right now.... or fifth or wherever the heck we were.

"It is what it is. I couldn't have done anything about it, so I really can't be mad about it. It's still ninth place. We could have gone back a lot further than [we could have gone] forward."

by Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service


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