theracereview
Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion started from the pole position in Sunday afternoon’s First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway, and finished 24th after a late-race tire issue dropped them down a lap to the leaders late in the event. Logano started from the pole and led the opening 48 laps of the race, despite having a Ford Fusion that struggled on initial takeoff. Logano reported the Ford’s handling to improve around the 10th lap of each run, as he would run inside the top five for the majority of the race. Crew chief Todd Gordon made only small wedge and air pressure adjustments to the Shell-Pennzoil Ford in an effort to stay with the changing track conditions as temperatures continued to fall. The team would finish the first two stages in third position, as Logano continued to capitalize on the long run potential of his car. In the final 240-lap run to the finish, the team would slip back as far as ninth in the running order with varying pit strategy, but Logano wasted no time charging back inside the top five on a long green-flag, late-race run. Unfortunately, following a late-race restart, contact from eventual race winner Kyle Busch would result in a cut left-rear tire for the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford and would drop Logano from the lead lap and out of the ensuing chaos to the finish. The team led 59 laps on the afternoon, one of only six cars to lead at least one lap in the race, which featured numerous long green-flag runs with the bulk of the races cautions coming in the final 40 laps.

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“The Shell-Pennzoil team brought a great Ford Fusion this weekend. We knew Saturday we had a good piece in the two practices and qualifying on the pole today felt really good. We were a really good long-run car, struggled a little bit on the short run. Unfortunately, the cut tire put an end to what was a great race. Our guys executed really well in the pits all day and I wanted to win that one really bad. We’ve got three races left and we’re not going to quit.”