No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 9th
Stage 2: 4th
Laps Completed: 498/500
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (Behind First): 4th (-45)
Joey Logano started second and ran inside the top-five before a caution flag in the middle of a cycle of green flags pit stops with less than 100 laps to go derailed his chances for a good finish. The unfortunate turn of events dropped Logano to the 11th finishing position, two laps down to race winner Kevin Harvick. The driver of the Shell-Pennzoil Ford officially clinched a spot in the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Playoffs after scoring two points in the opening stage of the race.
After starting second, Logano ran inside the top-five for the majority of Stage 1 before fading back to the ninth position in the closing laps of the segment. Under the caution, he reported the front tires on the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang were completely worn out and it would not turn in the center. When the team pitted, crew chief Paul Wolfe made an aggressive trackbar and air pressure change, hoping to give more-long run balance. Logano clinched his spot in the Round of 12 with a ninth-place finish in Stage 1.
With the adjustments, Logano moved back inside the top-five. He ran in fourth position for the majority of the second stage before a caution on lap 234 brought the field to pit road and set up a nine-lap dash to the finish. Logano received another trackbar adjustment for the sprint, where he finished fourth.
In the early laps of the final stage, Logano ran inside the top-five, logging competitive lap times despite the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang being a little too free in and off. A loose right-rear wheel forced Logano to pit earlier than scheduled and he was zapped by the fifth and final caution flag on lap 408, pinning him two laps down. Logano took the wave around during the caution and restarted at the tail end of the field, one lap down in 14th position when the race went green on lap 418.
Unfortunately, the race ran caution-free to the end with Logano finishing 11th, two laps down. The finish was not indicative of how well the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team performed, running much of the race inside the top-five. Logano goes to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next week seeded fourth in points and is the most recent winner at the 1.5-mile speedway, having won the Pennzoil 400 this past February
Quotes: “We had a Mustang that was probably top-five, something that was competitive. We had that longer run with a loose right-rear wheel and we tried to make it last long and it started to get pretty bad. It felt like we were late enough in the run that maybe we would start to cycle if we pit. We were so close. The caution was because of the 4 (Kevin Harvick) pitting and bottling everyone up. We were probably 10 or 15 laps from the cycle being complete and getting our lap back and being in contention for an even better finish. That is how it goes sometimes. We had a solid Shell-Pennzoil Ford and we have a lot of momentum.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!