race review

• Joey Logano started second and led 93 laps on his way to a ninth-place finish in the Bluegreen Vacations 500 Sunday afternoon at ISM Raceway. But despite the tremendous effort by the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team, it wasn’t enough to advance the defending series champion back to the Championship 4 in next week’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, falling just seven points short.
• Logano ran in the second position for the opening six laps before sliding back to the third position on lap 7. The Shell-Pennzoil Mustang took off tight but started building to a neutral balance by lap 10. Over the course of the run, the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford built loose and then swung back to a tight condition as the front tires began wearing out. The second caution on lap 68 slowed the pace with just seven laps to go in Stage 1. Todd Gordon made the call to pit during the caution for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Logano restarted fifth moved up to fourth-place when the stage ended on lap 75.
• He restarted fourth when the race went green on lap 82 and grabbed the lead one lap later. Logano led the next 71 laps to win Stage 2 and stretched his advantage to over three seconds at one point. The balance on the No. 22 Mustang was now loose, especially in Turns 3 and 4. He remained in the lead as his Ford was looser in and tighter in the center of the corners throughout the entire run.
• After Denny Hamlin led lap 154, Logano grabbed the lead on lap 155 and led the 22 laps, checking out to a one-second lead before a caution flag on lap 167 for Chase Elliott’s spin in Turn 1. Logano relinquished the lead on the restart to Hamlin, and dropped behind Kyle Busch on lap 188, which moved him beneath the Championship 4 cutline.
• Unfortunately, Logano continued to fall back through the field. He was 11th on lap 224 and then went one lap down to race leader Hamlin. The team was forced to continue running under green due to maintaining their position as the free pass should the caution flag be displayed. Gordon called Logano to pit road on lap 246 for potentially the final stop of the race. The driver reported his Mustang was too tight during the run. The adjustments proved to be positive as Logano began running down the race leader to unlap himself.
• But with 17 laps remaining, Logano fell out of the free pass position when Hamlin lapped the eighth place Erik Jones. The final caution on lap 304 kept Logano trapped a lap down but created a variety of pit strategies among those in contention. He and the team elected to take the wave around, regaining their lap and rejoining the field before the green. With old tires, Logano couldn’t make up the necessary ground to transfer. The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Mustangs was credited with a ninth-place finish.


“It’s a disappointing result. We wanted to be in the hunt during Ford Championship weekend, but at the end of the day we didn’t quite get it done. We still had a good year and in times like this you look for ways to get stronger as a team and this is certainly one of those times. This is a great group of guys. We’ve been together a long time and we’ll come back next year even stronger. We’ll go down to Homestead and look to close the year out with a win.”


Bluegreen Vacations 500