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Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team suffered through one of their biggest “roller coaster” days in recent memory and finished 11th in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Logano started the race from the pole after earning the top spot – the 15th pole of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career – in qualifying on Friday. At the beginning of the 500-lap race, Logano jumped out to the lead and led the first 21 laps before giving up the top spot to Paul Menard. Despite the early success, Logano then began a freefall through the field. In just 50 laps, Logano dropped from the lead to a lap down in the 27th position, complaining that his Ford Fusion lacked drive off and that his tires had worn considerably. After a big adjustment from crew chief Todd Gordon, Logano was able to race his way to the “lucky dog” spot and got back on the lead lap just 50 laps later. Once back on the lead lap, Logano raced at the tail end of the field the remainder of the day. Running at the back of the pack, Logano found himself beating and banging in the middle of the field, causing significant damage to his No. 22. Even with the damage, Logano continued to race his way back toward the front. Logano found himself back in the top-10 on lap 315, but dropped to the back once again after getting stuck on the outside lane during a restart. He worked his way back to 11th when Logano and the Shell-Pennzoil team suffered a pit road penalty with just over 100 to go, dropping him back to the tail end of the lead lap yet again. On a final restart with just 11 laps to go, Logano worked his way from 14th to 10th before contact caused a repair from earlier crash damage to come loose and completely block Logano’s view. Logano drove “blind” with the help of his spotter over the final five laps and lost only one spot, coming home with an 11th-place finish. Logano was able to gain one position in the point standings and sits fifth, 24 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.

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“It was frustrating. You want to go out there and win for sure and we just missed it. The first run was just absolutely awful to go down a lap from the lead, so we fought to get our car better, which we did, and then we over adjusted and came back and over adjusted on the way back, and then we had a pit road penalty. I think we know where we missed it, but we didn’t have the tools to fix what we needed to fix. Once the race starts a lot of times your hands are tied because you only have a certain amount of adjustments on your car or even on pit stops that we could fix what our problem was. We’ve just got to go back and learn from our mistakes and learn from what happened today. It seems like this tire kind of threw us for a loop today, or at least for our car.”