Stage One: 9th
Stage Two: 4th
Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team attacked Sunday’s short track showdown at Martinsville Speedway from start to finish, making steady progress throughout the duration of the 500-lap event to bring home a top-five finish in the penultimate race event of the season. Logano opened the event from the 16th position and made some initial gains in the race’s opening circuits, although a free handling Ford Mustang prevented him from making enough forward progress to crack the field’s top 10. A caution late in the first Stage gave the No. 22 team a chance to bring Logano to pit road for service, and after four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment, he returned to the track to finish the opening Stage from the 13th position. Logano capitalized on the restart to overtake multiple spots, catapulting to ninth before the initial green-white-checkered waved to close out the race’s first segment. Stage 2 began with another opportunity to advance his position, and Logano stayed focused on moving forward with a car that continued to improve its handling on the long run. A timely caution towards the end of the Stage allowed for another stop on pit road, and quick work by the No. 22 placed Logano in an advantageous spot for the final laps of Stage 2, with the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang crossing the line fourth to secure more valuable points and near closer to the lead. Logano and his Team Penske teammates elected to forgo pit road service during the final stage break and stayed out to resume the race while occupying three of the top-five positions. Logano continued to stay up front as the laps ticked, until another caution mid-stage opened a chance for teams a chance to refresh their cars, and that included four tires and fuel for the No. 22. The varying pit strategies resulted in Logano ultimately restarting from the 18th position, but with nearly 150 laps still remaining on fresh tires and a full tank of fuel, the opportunity to advance remained: by lap 100 he was in 11th, and the final 50 lap run saw him reach 8th and progressing forward. Logano would confidently navigate the remaining laps and lapped traffic to advance to fifth when the checkered flag flew for his 11th-career Martinsville top-five finish.
“It was absolutely a long day, but I’m proud of the team with a top-five and [Ryan] Blaney getting into the Championship 4. You’ve got to be proud of that as well. He had a great car and a great weekend, so good for him and we’ll go to Phoenix for one more race.”
WHAT’S NEXT: The NASCAR Cup Series will crown the 2023 champion at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, November 5 as Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, William Byron, and Christopher Bell make up the Championship 4 contending for the title. Coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series Championship begins at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN Radio and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.