By Summer Bedgood, Managing Editor
Hendrick Motorsports was not to be denied at Martinsville Speedway.
That didn’t stop Team Penske driver Joey Logano from trying.
In Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at the half-mile track in Virginia, Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and eventual race winner William Byron combined to lead all but six of the 403 laps, with little in the way of challengers.
However, a late-race caution that created a NASCAR Overtime (green-white-checkered) restart gave the No. 22 of Logano one more shot at earning his first victory of the season.
Logano would line up to Byron’s outside on the final restart, with Byron able to clear him heading into turn one. Logano tucked in behind, staying well within reach of Byron’s No. 24 bumper.
After the white flag flew, Logano bumped Byron in turns one and two, but Byron was able to maintain the lead.
Logano made one last drive for the lead in the final corner, getting right up behind Byron once again, but wasn’t able to make a move, and ultimately Byron drove home to take the checkered flag.
After the race, Logano expressed the same sentiment that many drivers had during and after the race: passing is hard.
“Yeah, it was a good race down to the end,” said Logano post-race. “Really hard to pass. I feel like if I had a better restart the restart before that — I think I chose the wrong lane and got the 3 in front of me and just got stuck behind him, couldn’t pass him. Maybe I could have had something for the 4 in that long haul if not.
“But just that final restart there, had a front row,” he continued. “That’s what you can ask for. Got cleared to second, and Willy kind of messed up off of 4 and let me get to him, and he did a really good job of brake checking into third, right, which is a good job. He did what he was supposed to do, and kind of got me all stuffed up behind him and I couldn’t accelerate off the corner and be as close as I needed to be down into 3 to execute the ol’ bump-and-run. Couldn’t get quite to him, but his corner entry was really strong, too, which I think allowed him to get in there pretty strong.
“Overall the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang had a solid run. Just hate being that close to winning and not making it happen. But big points today, and it just stings. Second just sucks sometimes, that’s all.”
— Peter Stratta (@peterstratta) April 10, 2022
Despite Logano’s disappoint with the runner-up finish, this was his second top-five run after eight races in the 2022 season, the other one coming at Auto Club Speedway back in February.
Logano gained one spot in the points standings, moving up to fourth, 27 points behind leader Elliott.
The Cup Series next heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City Dirt Race on Sunday, April 17th. Logano won the inaugural dirt race in Bristol last year. Coverage begins at 7:00 PM ET on FOX, PRN, and SiriusXM.
Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography