Joey Logano earned a respectable ninth-place finish in Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
That may sound like a decent day, but for Logano, who’s in the thick of a championship battle in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Round of 8, that wasn’t good enough.
After starting on the outside of Martin Truex Jr. on the front row, Logano hovered around the top five for the first part of the race, but a lengthy caution due to scoring issues mired the Team Penske driver toward the back of the field.
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And according to Logano, who insisted he should have finished in the top five, that incident was directly to blame.
“We had a decent Shell/Pennzoil Ford — a top-five car,” said Logano. “We were a whole bunch better than that, but I felt like we could run in the top five, especially on the long run. But when that caution came out and screwed up the lineup for everyone, and then we had to restart what felt like 30th on the race track. We maintained there and needed a caution to be able to close back up to the lead-lap cars and just never got the caution. It’s just part of racing sometimes.”
Logano also felt like his No. 22 team executed a solid race, but the mass confusion between NASCAR officials, drivers and teams alike during the 29-lap caution period cancelled that out.
“Overall, we had a top-5 car, but we didn’t have the race play out the way we needed it to,” Logano said. “No one made a mistake or is at fault, but that caution came out that jumbled the field up and we had the wave around to get back on the lead lap.”
In the end, Logano just chalked it up to it being one of those racing deals.
“… Our car was better than ninth,” he added. “We raced in the top five early in the race and that’s probably where we should have finished, but that’s racing sometimes. Sometimes you’re on each end of it. We got an OK day out of it — nothing bad and nothing great — but we got through it.”
Heading into the second race of the Round of 8 at Texas Motor Speedway, Logano is now fifth in the Chase standings, four points behind Kyle Busch at the cutoff.
But he knows if they want to be in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, they can’t have another race like Martinsville.
“We need to be better than that to get to Homestead, but we’re not far off at all.”