Stage 1 Finish: 32nd
Stage 2 Finish: 26th
Joey Logano and the No. 22 team had to start Sunday’s NOCO 400 at Martinsville Speedway from the rear of the field following an unapproved adjustment prior to green flag, subjecting the Verizon 5G team to a 32nd-place finish in Stage 1 and the recipient of the free pass after going a lap down on lap 57. Following a four-tire stop and a round of adjustments at the end of Stage 1, Logano reported issues with tight-handling condition in the center of the corner and corner exit, resulting in a 26th-place finish in Stage 2. Logano battled an issue with a lack of rear grip during a long, green-flag run to begin the final stage, prompting crew chief Pail Wolfe to make a strategy call to leave Logano on the track while green-flag pit stops cycled and allowed him to run as high as fourth. The strategy ultimately paid off as the caution flag flew on lap 302, setting up Logano to restart seventh on fresh tires. As the car settled in in clean air, Logano was running sixth at the time of the race’s final caution on lap 342. Wolfe opted to leave Logano on the track to take the green flag from the lead on would be the final restart of the afternoon and, despite leading 25 laps, Logano was passed by the No. 5 with 29 laps to go, resultin in a second-place finish.
“I knew the only way he was gonna get by me is he was gonna have to get physical. I had to make the car wide. I had very little chance to win it when he had the two tires. He just got through traffic too quick for us, but, overall, it still was the right call to get us on the front row. You never know, you have a caution at the end and some things can happen, but, overall, I’m very proud of the Verizon Mustang team. We were not good. We went down a lap two times throughout the race and got one lucky dog and one lucky caution and then just some good strategy from Paul and getting the car better. We were awful to start and he did a good job of getting me competitive at least and putting me in position to do something there at the end. There are days when you’re mad about second, most of the time you are, but days like today you’re pretty happy to see the front at the end.”
Logano is currently seventh in the NASCAR Cup Series driver points standings.