Stage One: 24th
Stage Two: 31st
Joey Logano’s run to defend his 2022 NASCAR Cup Series title came to close Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway after getting collected in a multi-car incident on lap 262 that brought the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team’s night to an abrupt end. After starting 28th, Logano made up six spots in the first ten laps as he trended towards racing inside the top-20 while battling a loose-handling condition from the center of the corner through corner exit. The first caution flag of the night flew on lap 68 and Logano was one of six cars to stay on the race track under yellow in an effort to gain track position – and possible stage points – in the early going. Logano lined up fifth with 49 laps remaining in Stage 1 and kept his Ford Mustang in the top-10 on older tires before the yellow was displayed again on lap 105 for rain. After restarting seventh with 12 laps left in the segment, Logano was quickly forced out of line and began to fall through the field, resulting in a 24th-place finish in Stage 1. Logano was brought to pit road for the first time during the stage break for four tires and a round of adjustments to alleviate a loose-handling condition during the longer runs and lined up to restart 31st following a brief red flag on lap 137 for heavier rainfall in the area. The field took the green flag for what wound up being a caution-free second stage, resulting in a 31st-place finish in Stage 2. Following another four-tire stop under yellow, Logano was still scored above the Round of 12 cut line as he came to take the green from 26th in the running order. Shortly after the restart, the No. 7 went around and made contact with the inside wall, shooting him back up the racing surface at the entrance of turn three and into the left side of Logano’s Ford Mustang as several cars piled into the back of him. Logano limped the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang back to pit road but the damage to the left rear was deemed irreparable, forcing an early exit in Bristol.
“I knew my situation and what I needed to do, but it’s Bristol and there’s not really many things you do differently depending on your scenario. There’s nothing I could have done there in that wreck. It’s just a product of being back there and the way we raced or anything like that didn’t affect that. The only thing that affected that is we were back there, so that’s it. You don’t go fast enough, you’re in the back and they wreck in front of you at Bristol on a restart and you’re going so fast that you can’t whoa up or turn or do anything and you get kind of pile drive into the wreck. It’s our own fault.”
WHAT’S NEXT: The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the first race in the Round of 12 on Sunday, September 24. Coverage of the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 begins at 3:30 pm E.T. on USA, PRN Radio and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.