Joey Lagano advances in NASCAR Chase with New Hampshire win

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano exited his car on Sunday after winning the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a huge grin on his face. Was it the Lobster Trophy? Could it have been the fact that Team Penski now has two cars advancing to the next round in the Chase? Why was he so happy?

The 24 year-old driver said winning at New Hampshire was special as it was where he saw his first NASCAR race. The driver is from near-by Middletown, Connecticut and said during his post-race winner’s circle interview that the track was special to him on many levels. Mostly because it was the place where his love of racing was born.

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“We worked hard,” Logano said. "This is my home race track, the coolest place to win for me. I could never pick a better race track to win. I watched my first Cup race here when I was 5."

Punching a Ticket

Four of the sixteen Championship Chase drivers will be eliminated from the Challenger Round after next week’s Sprint Cup series race. Logano has punched his ticket with a win and can head into the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway with a little less pressure.

The Chase field is composed of sixteen drivers with four being eliminated after three rounds. Each round consists of three races. That leaves four drivers heading into the last race of the season battling for the Championship. Now Penske has both Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski advancing from the Challenger round to the Contender round.

Logano said that you had to be patient during the race but not patient at the same time. A four tire pit-stop, and a great restart, put him out in front with fresh tires with only two laps to go. Logano left Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick to battle for positions as he went on to win the race effectively punching his ticket to the Contender round.

“You had to be patient, but you couldn’t afford to be patient at the same time,” Logano said. “We came in, put four on, we were a little towards the back - near the end - but I really couldn’t be patient.”

Team Penske

Logano’s win is his fourth of the 2014 season and it’s a big one when it comes to power in the garage. The win by the No. 22 Pennzoil Ford Fusion signals the third straight triumph for Team Penske. Now other teams know that it’s not only Brad Keselowski that has a team hitting on all cylinders during the chase. Keselowski leads the chase with back-to-back victories.

Combined the two teammates have nine wins on the season and both are moving onto the next round of the Championship Chase. It will give Keselowski an opportunity to repeat his 2013 Sprint Cup Series Championship and it would be Logano’s first if he goes onto win the Cup.

The win at New Hampshire not only landed Logano a huge lobster but also a ticket to the next round of the Chase and possibly a Sprint Cup Championship if he keeps driving like he did this past weekend.

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