Logano Finishes 2nd At Martinsville

The favorite line of Ricky Bobby in the film Talladega Nights was simple and straight-forward: “If you ain’t first, you’re last”.

Of course, Ricky Bobby is a fictional character. But real-life NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt is often attributed to the quote “second place is just the first loser”.

Article written by MICHAEL EUBANKS, SI

On Saturday night, Joey Logano added another comment about finishing in P2: “Finishing second just sucks”.

Having won the first short track race of 2022 — the non-points Busch Light Clash in early February at the Los Angeles Coliseum — Logano was in prime position to collect his second short track win of 2022 in the overtime restart of Saturday’s Blue-Emu 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

The driver of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford lined up right next to race leader William Bryon for the final two-lap shootout but could not pass Byron (who led a race-high 212 laps) for the win.

Both drivers raced neck and neck entering Turn 1 on the white flag lap. However, Byron was able to pull away and take the checkered flag. That left Logano, who could have potentially punted Byron if he wanted but demurred, with some mixed emotions post race.

“I could have tried to hit him harder. That might have been what I needed to do,” Logano said. “William did a good job of executing up front on the restart there. I was able to get to him because he made a mistake off of Turn 4 taking the white flag and I thought, ‘OK, this is my chance.’

“My car didn’t fire off real fast, but kind of gave me the opportunity to get to him. I got to him and kind of rooted him up a little bit and then he came back down and just brake-checked me pretty good at the two-thirds as he should.

“I’m not mad about that. He should do that and that just killed my momentum off of (turn 2) and gapped me by two car lengths almost into the final corner. I was too far back to get to him at that point. I just hate being that close. It was a solid run for our car today. Our Mustang was solid, especially on the long haul. We just didn’t fire off as fast as we needed to and it kind of came down to that at the end.”

Joey Logano is looking forward to returning next week to the dirt track at Bristol Motor Speedway to defend his win in last March’s Food City Dirt Race.

Of course, Logano wasn’t the only driver to have difficulty passing Saturday evening. The race itself was definitely not one of the most exciting ones to have taken place at Martinsville. A combination of poor weather that delayed the start of the race a little over an hour, and the new Next Generation car are two plausible reasons for the lack of passing.

Logano said he thought it was “a little bit of both.”

“If you’re directly behind them, it’s no secret this car is worse in dirty air,” Logano said. “If you’re not directly behind them, you’re able to recover better. But it seems like the way cars were into the corner and the way the track wasn’t taking rubber, it just made the bottom be the dominant lane. You couldn’t move up the racetrack and stern across or do anything to try to pass them. You really just got stuck.”

While Logano still believes finishing second sucks, his runner-up showing did help him move up in the standings from fifth to fourth place. So there’s that.

Saturday night may have only been so-so for Joey Logano, but next Sunday he’ll have a chance to have a really good weekend. The Cup Series heads to the dirt track at Bristol Motor Speedway – where Logano won the inaugural event last season.

Lou wants me to be sure to let you know that Joey Logano is from Middletown, CT.

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