HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Despite being the perceived underdog against the Big Three in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship fight, Joey Logano made a resounding statement against that notion during Saturday’s two practice sessions at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Logano swept both 50-minute rounds at the 1.5-mile South Florida oval, topping the earlier session with a lap of 31.838 seconds (169.609 mph) in his No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford before bettering the mark in Happy Hour with a time of 31.450 seconds (171.701 mph).
The Team Penske driver and Middletown, Conn., native will chase his first Cup Series title on Sunday. Logano was also fastest in 10-lap average speed in both practices as well.
“I think we were pretty good,” noted Logano. “I’m not sure our last run was as good as I wanted it to be, but I don’t think it was that bad. We will have to look at some more data to understand it better. The car has speed on the short run and hangs decent on the long run. We made a couple of 30-lappers or so.
“We’ll just be doing some fine tuning from here. No wholesale changes, which is good.”
Martin Truex Jr. was second-best among the Championship 4 in both practices on Saturday afternoon, ending ninth in the early round before posting the second-fastest lap (31.656/170.584) overall in final practice.
The good news for Truex was that he ended Happy Hour second in 10-lap average speed.
Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick were third and fourth, respectively, among the title contenders in both sessions. Busch was 23rd and 12th, while Harvick was 28th and 14th between the two rounds.
Of note, Brad Keselowski, Erik Jones and Aric Almirola completed the top five in single-lap speed.
Busch scrubbed the wall with the right side of his No. 18 Toyota in the waning minutes of final practice, but crew chief Adam Stevens said after the end of the session that he had no major concerns and that the car would be repaired for Sunday’s race.
“They all look like that at some point during the weekend,” Stevens noted. It’s better to have that happen in practice than in the race, but it’s just minor, minor damage. It’s nothing we can’t fix in short order.”
The Ford EcoBoost 400 is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start time on Sunday, live on NBC, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.