Late pit stop problem ends Joey Logano's title chances

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Nick Bromberg
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HOMESTEAD, Fla. – As soon as Joey Logano's car fell off the jack during a pit stop with less than 20 laps to go in Sunday's Ford 400, his chances of winning the Sprint Cup title disappeared.

Logano was already running fourth out of the four drivers racing for the championship, but was in the top 10 when he came to pit road for four tires. But as his crew swung to change the tires on the left side of his car, the car dropped to the ground and the crew struggled to get it lifted back up to put the new tires on.

Logano fell to 21st. It was simply too many spots to make up in too few laps.

"I did not have good emotions in the car. I was pretty pissed off if that is an emotion," Logano said. You knew your chances went down a lot. I didn't say it was over. We didn't give up. At that point I was trying to pass as many cars as we could and really hoped those guys wrecked each other. That is all I had going for me at that point. When you are that far back, 24th or 25th, you can't make that up with 12 to go or whatever it was."

Logano ended up 16th.

If the old Chase was in effect -- with points tallied over 10 races and the driver with the most points after Homestead is the winner -- Logano would have won the championship by seven points over race and title-winner Kevin Harvick.

Throughout 2014. Logano was one of the series' most consistent drivers. He had the second-best average finish and won five races, one more than Jeff Gordon, the only driver with a better average finish, and second-most in the series to teammate Brad Keselowski. Not only did he win races, but he avoided bad finishes in the second half of the season.

"Yeah, I am proud of (his team) but it hard to be proud right now after coming home wherever we finished in this race..." Logano said soon after exiting his car. "You don't get shots at championships very often. Hopefully we get another next year. This car had a lot of wins and a lot of top fives and it doesn't mean a thing."

His Homestead finish of 16th was the worst of his Chase. Only Jimmie Johnson (three times) and Brad Keselowski have won Chase championships without having a lower finish than Logano's worst in 2014.

But the format's different. His worst finish of the Chase came at the absolute worst time.

"It has been a spectacular year," Logano said. I have a biased opinion right now and I am probably too close to the fire to comment much on how it went. As the car that scored more points than anyone in the Chase it is hard to say you are in love with (the new format) but I think it was a good thing for the sport and the race was exciting today."

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!