theracereview

Joey Logano qualified the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in the 14th position for the Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was the first time all season that Logano missed making the final round of qualifying on a non-restrictor plate track.

At the beginning of the race, Logano began to make his way forward, getting all the way up to seventh place before the first pit stop on lap 40.

Once inside the top 10, Logano ran most of the rest of the night inside the top eight.

The Shell-Pennzoil Ford was handling very tight and crew chief Todd Gordon made huge changes to the car throughout the evening, working on air pressure and wedge adjustments. Despite the handling issues, Logano continued to march forward and found himself fifth by lap 80.

Track position would be key the rest of the race. Logano’s Ford Fusion was slow on restarts, but on the long run it came alive and made up ground. After 200 laps, Logano began to make his presence felt inside the top three.

On lap 298, Logano came to pit road for what the team had hoped would be the final pit stop of the race. While on pit road, the caution flag came out, which would have put Logano at the front of the field on the restart. Unfortunately, during his green flag stop, the team wasn’t able to get any fuel into the car, which forced Logano to have to come down pit road a second time with the rest of the lead lap cars.

Despite the issue, Logano drove his way back up to fifth and looked to be in position to produce another top-five finish when a late-race caution waved with just five laps to go. With Logano lined up sixth on the restart, the lead car on the outside lane spun its tires, which forced several cars to take evasive action. In the aftermath, the Shell-Pennzoil Ford and the car driven by Kevin Harvick both got forced into the outside wall, which caused extensive damage to each car. Logano pitted again to repair the damage and managed to limp home with a 14th-place finish.

Despite the result, Logano moved up one position in the Chase Grid to third and remained fourth in the Sprint Cup Series point standings.

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YOU HAD A FAST CAR AND LOOKED TO BE IN A GOOD POSITION LATE. WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE WRECK AT THE END?

“The position we’re in is points don’t mean anything. We’re locked in the Chase and all you have to do is go for a win, so I saw my opportunity to try to win the race and I went for it. It was there and then the 27 (car) blocked the 4 (car) and I was right there with nowhere to go. There’s not much we could do. You either finish eighth or possibly win the race or finish second depending on how that move turned out. Unfortunately, we got crashed.”

WERE YOU FAST WHERE YOU NEEDED TO BE TONIGHT?

“We were there. We were fighting track position sometimes and then we’d get back up there. For a minute there I just thought we were a second-place car. That’s where I thought we deserved to finish and it looked like we were going to get a decent top-five even after we had a little pit road issue, and then all hell broke loose.”