Logano punches his ticket to Miami after late race drama

by Bryan Rivero On Sun, Oct. 28, 2018

MARTINSVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 28: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 28, 2018 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Joey Logano won the First Data 500 at Martinsville on Sunday afternoon after a chaotic battle for the win against Martin Truex Jr. He scored his second win of the season and punched his ticket to the Championship 4 at Homestead.

“That was just a hard great race. NASCAR racing at its finest. It was a lot of bumper banging towards the end and a hard race. You know, we didn’t wreck each other. We bumped into each other a lot and that is what this sport was built on. I know a lot of fans out there aren’t too happy about it but it is racing and that is what NASCAR is about and what stock car racing is. I am just glad we finally won here,” Lagano said in victory lane.

Logano led 309 laps. Denny Hamlin came in second, with Truex, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski rounding out the top five.

Kyle Busch led the field to the green after winning the pole on Saturday. It was a struggle for him early as it took teammate Denny Hamlin 32 laps to take the lead from him. Busch fell to third when Clint Bowyer was able to take another position from him.

The first caution came out on Lap 43 when Jeb Burton crashed into the wall. Kyle Busch selected the first pit stall coming out of the pits which gave him the advantage and was able to retake the lead after the pit stops. Alex Bowman was penalized for speeding in the pits.

The race started slow for some of the playoff drivers but they were all making a run at getting a top 10 finish to end Stage 1. Chase Elliott and Truex were two drivers that started further back and drove toward the top 10.

The race lead was flipping around between Kyle Busch and Hamlin. They had a nice battle throughout the entire stage. Jimmie Johnson spun out on Lap 71 bringing out the second caution.  Most of the leaders stayed out as we saw Jamie McMurray and teammate Kyle Larson pit. No major damage was reported for Johnson following his spin.

Hamlin won Stage 1. Truex was the fastest car on the track closing Stage 1. He finished the stage in the seventh position. The only playoff driver out of the top 10 was Chase Elliott finishing 11th and missing out on any playoff points. Hamlin led 29 laps of the stage.

The race off pit road during the stage break had Logano surpassing the Joe Gibbs teammates and taking the lead. Bowyer made contact with Erik Jones giving him some damage in the right front. Ryan Blaney had an uncontrolled tire and was forced to start in the back for Stage 2.

Logano got a great jump in the restart and he never looked back from then. The Busch brothers had some good door to door battles for third at the beginning of the run. Hamlin went back to fourth because of it.

On Lap 173 we saw a good battle between Truex and Bowyer as they made contact for the fifth position. Logano had a dominant stage as he started lapping many of the cars. By Lap 207 he had lapped half of the field. Drivers Larson and Blaney were put down a lap by Logano.

Kevin Harvick had a pretty tough stage. He dropped out of the top 10 on Lap 212. Truex continued his surge to the front as he took fourth from Kurt Busch.

AJ Allmendinger and Ty Dillon had good Stage 2 runs as both cars made their ways into the top 15 and were able to stay on the lead lap. We saw Harvick go down a lap at the end of Stage 2 when he was in the 15th position.

Hamlin closed in on Logano in the final laps of the stage for a side by side finish favoring Logano. Logano dominated Stage 2 but found some trouble holding off Hamlin. Logano was able to hold the lead during the stage break edging in front of Hamlin off pit road. Ryan Newman was caught speeding, he was supposed to restart sixth.

Going into the final stage, teams started to adjust their strategies as the radar showed some rain heading towards the race track. The final stage started pretty clean with Logano holding the lead on the restart. Logano was taking care of the lead while there was a lot of mixing up behind him.

Truex didn’t have a good restart dropping him a few spots to sixth. It was eventful for Johnson who entered the top 10 on Lap 285 after overcoming the spin earlier in the race.

Truex started to settle down laps into the run when he started to get some positions back that he lost on the restart. He eventually moved up to second as the run continued. Harvick was the playoff driver that struggled the most during the last run. He was maintaining in the top 15.  Almirola’s car was the fastest around Lap 330 when he moved up to sixth.

Logano’s lead began to diminish as he was seeing Truex close in on him after Lap 154. Truex’s car was handling much better in the corners when they started battling for the lead. He was able to take the lead from Logano on Lap 360. This was Truex’s first time on the lead in the afternoon after starting the race in 33rd.

A caution came out shortly after Truex took the lead when Byron got into the wall on Lap 366. The radar was showing the rain getting closer to the track by this time. Truex held on to the lead with Logano behind him on pit road.

On Lap 374 the green flag came out for the restart with Truex continuing to lead the field. Logano maintained the second spot as he was inching toward Truex. Almirola started to lose spots after restarting forth because he was not able to get his car to the bottom line. Logano retook the lead from Truex on Lap 377.

A caution came out on Lap 382 after Timmy Hill’s car caught fire on pit road. Bowyer led cars behind him into pit road. Elliott came out in front of the pits with the group starting from ninth.

Logano held off Truex on the restart and Brad Keselowski started to come into the picture after he was able to take third following the restart. A caution came out a few laps later for Larson. It appeared that he had some mechanical issue after a lot of smoke caused him to exit his vehicle.

The green flag was back out on Lap 415 with Logano leading into the first turn. Keselowski took second from Truex. He was able to get to Logano’s side and take the lead from him shortly after. Keselowski started the race at the rear for unapproved adjustments.

Truex dropped all the way to sixth. Logano and Hamlin’s battle for second started to heat up. This gave Keselowski an advantage and extended his lead. A caution came out on Lap 457 after playoff contending Bowyer made contact with Johnson and spun. He was running outside the top 10 at the time.

The leaders came down pit road during the caution with Logano coming out in front of everyone else. Most of the drivers took four tires.

The restart was led by Logano with 37 laps left. He was able to lead going into Turn 1 but there were some hectic battles behind him. Kyle Busch, Keselowski, and Truex had some bumpy battles for the few positions behind Logano.

“We had a good run there. We were really good on the short runs but we struggled a little bit on the long runs and it just didn’t end up playing out there for us at the end. It is good to see Joey (Logano) get to victory lane. Happy for Team Penske,” Keselowski said.

The final 10 laps had some intense racing between Logano and Truex for the lead. Side by side racing in the final few laps as Logano was able to put a bumper on Truex in the final corner to take the win.

Next week we head to Fort Worth for the AAA Texas 500.

Post Martinsville Playoff Standings

  1. Joey Logano: 1 win
  2. Kyle Busch: +46
  3. Martin Truex Jr: +25
  4. Kevin Harvick: +25
  5. Kurt Busch: -25
  6. Chase Elliott: -31
  7. Clint Bowyer: -42
  8. Aric Almirola: – 50

Monster Energy Cup Series Race
Unofficial Race Results for the 70th Annual First Data 500 – Sunday, October 28, 2018
Martinsville Speedway – Martinsville, VA – 0.526 – Mile Paved
Total Race Length – 500 Laps – 263. Miles

Pos St Car Driver Team Make
1 10 22 Joey Logano (P) Shell Pennzoil Ford
2 3 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota
3 33 78 Martin Truex Jr. (P) 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota
4 1 18 Kyle Busch (P) M&M’s Halloween Toyota
5 7 2 Brad Keselowski Thomas Built Buses Ford
6 6 41 Kurt Busch (P) Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford
7 19 9 Chase Elliott (P) SunEnergy1 Chevrolet
8 16 31 Ryan Newman E-Z-GO Chevrolet
9 8 19 Daniel Suarez ARRIS Toyota
10 12 4 Kevin Harvick (P) Busch Beer Ford
11 5 10 Aric Almirola (P) Smithfield Ford
12 34 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet
13 13 37 Chris Buescher Bush’s Chili Beans Chevrolet
14 15 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet
15 23 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet
16 17 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald’s Chevrolet
17 14 88 Alex Bowman Nationwide Chevrolet
18 36 38 David Ragan MDS Transport Ford
19 18 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fifth Third Bank Ford
20 4 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Moen Ford
21 2 14 Clint Bowyer (P) Rush Truck Centers Ford
22 35 21 Paul Menard Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
23 24 6 Matt Kenseth Wyndham Rewards Ford
24 28 72 Cole Whitt MOEN Chevrolet
25 20 34 Michael McDowell Dockside Logistics Ford
26 21 20 Erik Jones DeWalt Toyota
27 29 96 * DJ Kennington(i) Xtreme Concepts/iK9 Toyota
28 27 95 Regan Smith WRL General Contractors Chevrolet
29 22 15 Ross Chastain(i) Ternio Chevrolet
30 25 3 Austin Dillon Dow Chevrolet
31 38 23 JJ Yeley(i) Adirondack Tree Surgeons Toyota
32 32 99 * Landon Cassill(i) StarCom Fiber Chevrolet
33 39 51 Jeb Burton(i) Jacob Companies Chevrolet
34 37 43 Bubba Wallace # Pioneer Records Management Chevrolet
35 30 00 Joey Gase(i) Donate Life Chevrolet
36 26 32 Matt DiBenedetto Keen Parts/CorvetteParts.net Ford
37 9 42 Kyle Larson First Data/Clover Chevrolet
38 40 66 * Timmy Hill(i) Rewards.com Toyota
39 11 24 William Byron # Liberty University Chevrolet
40 31 7 * Hermie Sadler II I Virginia Lottery Chevrolet
** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

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