Joey Logano and teammate Ryan Blaney made up the front row one-two and finished the race the same way. Ford dominated the race with the two drivers leading a combined 296 of the 312 laps. Logano led 187 laps, Blaney 109.
Martinsville was a must win situation for several drivers this weekend and none more than Christopher Bell who was the furthest back in points coming into the race. Once again, Bell rose to the occasion and won another win or go home race. His win sets the final four drivers heading to the championship race at Phoenix.
If you lead 199 laps of the scheduled 267, you are hoping that you’re pulling into Victory Lane at the end of the contest. Kyle Larson finally did just that but had to get by Martin Truex, Jr. on pit road to do it.
Joey Logano had a Top 5 car most of the race and a late race call for new tires had you wondering if he was going to be able to drive through the field while others around him did not pit. That call by crew chief Wolf was the game winning hand as Logano drove back through the field taking the lead from Ross Chastain with 3 laps remaining.
Christopher Bell was in a must win situation entering the Charlotte Roval and his team delivered with a fresh tire call that helped push him past leader Kevin Harvick. That win plus an unfortunate smack of the wall eliminated reigning champ Kyle Larson.
Well it finally happened – a playoff driver won a playoff race. And Chase Elliott did it in fine form, racing clean and hard right to the checkered flag. It had a record number of lead changes, in a race where it was very hard to pass. The only real wreck was a multi-car spin that wasn’t all that serious.
The 2022 playoffs continue without a playoff driver winning a race. This may be a season where the eventual champion may only win a single race in the final 10 races. Tyler Reddick was the fourth consecutive non-playoff driver to win a race. Reddick was eliminated from the Round of 16 but proved that his remaining time with RCR will not go quietly.
Let this sink in for a moment – not a single NASCAR Cup Series playoff driver won a race in Round One of the playoffs.
Bubba Wallace took the helm of the 45 car into the playoffs to help Toyota battle for the manufacturers trophy. A lot of folks were scratching their heads over that move and questioning the sanity of Toyota and 23XI Racing. But a couple of weeks later, all the questions were answered as Bubba drove the 45 to its second victory at Kansas.
Hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Last week I said that Erik Jones was my sleeper driver to turn the tables on the playoffs and he did it in rare form.