Joey Logano drove his No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil to the front of the field in a hurry early in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but a mid-race penalty and lack of cautions kept the 25-year-old from contending, eventually coming home with a 12th-place finish. Logano qualified an uncharacteristic 26th and had to fight his way through the field in the early going. Logano was up to the challenge, racing into the top-10 by lap 30 and getting as high as fourth less than 100 laps into the event. The Shell-Pennzoil Ford was strong on the long runs, which kept Logano at the front of the field for the first half of the race. Unfortunately, things went south on lap 150 when, coming to pit road, Logano was assessed a commitment line violation, which resulted in a pass-through penalty. Logano fell a lap off the pace and a lack of caution flags kept Logano from getting a shot to race for the beneficiary pass to get back on the lead lap. Logano still ran lap times good enough to run with the leaders for the rest of the event, but only two cautions in the first 320 laps of the race kept him from getting back on the lead lap. Prior to a green-white-checker finish at the end, Logano took the wave around to get back on the lead lap in hopes of another quick caution, but had to settle for a 12th-place finish. After two events, Logano sits eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings.

“I had a Shell-Pennzoil Ford that was really fast and probably capable of a top-five, but I just lost focus for a second and missed my entry point of pit road. I was trying to get everything set in my car and by the time I looked up I was past my point and I center-punched the cone. That pass-through penalty is what set us down one lap and when you have green flag runs that are a couple hundred laps long, it never gives you an opportunity to get the lucky dog to get back on the lead lap. One mistake cost us a possible top-five finish and it felt like every bit of a top-five car, and maybe even better than that. I’m just frustrated with myself after that one because we don’t make mistakes very often on this 22 team and I guess for making a mistake and having a 12th-place finish isn’t that bad, but it kind of hurts when you know you had a better car.”

Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500