Joey Logano third in Modified debut; Chase Elliott 16th in USAC

Logano Elliott
@DirtCar_Racing, Twitter
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Joey Logano finished third in a field of 19 UMP Modifieds at Volusia Raceway Park in Barberville, Fla. while just up the road Chase Elliott was 16th in his USAC Midget debut Friday at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla.

Logano was on hand at the 50th DirtCar Nationals to gain some dirt track experience prior to NASCAR running their first race on that surface since 1970 when Richard Petty won a 200-lapper at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, NC.

In a race won by former NASCAR Cup driver David Reutimann, Logano started dead last after the race was set by points. The race was slowed by numerous cautions that reset the field and allowed both Reutimann, who started 15th, and Logano to move steadily through the field. Logano was able to sidestep most of the carnage, sustaining significant damage only in the closing laps when John Baker spun into the right side of Logano’s car during a battle for third with Jesse Rupe.

“I only got one gear, and it was to go,” Logano told DIRTVision after the race. “It was a good time, I finished third, that’s great, and learned a little bit. Got a little bit of damage to fix, and we’ll come back at it tomorrow night.”

Logano was racing a car prepared by Ryan Flores, one of the members of Team Penske.

Flores and Logano tested on the 4/10-mile Friendship Motor Speedway in Elkin, NC before the race. The track is D-shaped like Volusia, but a touch smaller than the half-mile track.

Logano was denied the opportunity to run Saturday night when the event fell to rain, but he will get another shot behind the wheel on Sunday.

Logano also has plans to race in the Bristol Dirt Nationals, which will be held before the NASCAR Cup weekend.

Friday night’s show at Volusia featured five Main events. Other drivers Friday night at Volusia with a NASCAR connection included Justin Allgaier who was second in his Main, David Stremme (12th), Kenny Wallace (15th), Ken Schrader (19th) and Justin Haley (20th).

USAC was also scheduled for two nights in Florida this weekend. Elliott has chosen Midgets for his dirt tutorial.

In the first of two races, rain interrupted the USAC show Friday night and forced it to finish on Saturday. The race was postponed 13 laps into the 30 Lap Main, so the final 17 laps were run during the day after race started under the lights.

With a time of 14.534 seconds, Elliott set the 16th-fastest time in his USAC debut, about a half second off the pace of the fastest qualifier, Kevin Thomas Jr.

The top four advanced from their heats into the Main. Elliott finished sixth and was forced to race the Last Chance Qualifier to make the show. Six drivers transferred from the LCQ; Elliott finished fifth in that race and was able to make the big show, but since he was there for experience, running the LCQ gave him 12 more laps on the track.

Elliott was 18th in the Main in a race won by Buddy Kofoid.

In December, Elliott finished third and fourth in two features at Millbridge Speedway in Salisbury, NC, in his first-ever race in a Midget.

Elliott also ran in the 2021 Chili Bowl Nationals and finished seventh in the F-Feature.