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Logano Beats Truex, Jr. to Win at Martinsville

by Pete McCole
Sunday, October 28, 2018

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Joey Logano wins at Martinsville
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Joey Logano punched his ticket into the Championship 4 after a thrilling side-by-side battle with Martin Truex, Jr. to win the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway and advance to the final round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs for the third time in five years.

Logano put the bumper to Truex going into the final turn and banged doors coming to the start/finish line with Truex nearly spinning out but holding on to finish third as Denny Hamlin flashed by to take second.

Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.

Logano's victory was his second of the season and 20th of his career, as well as his first-ever career Cup Series victory at Martinsville Speedway. And he becomes the first driver to race his way into the final four to race for the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in three weeks.

"That was just a hard great race. NASCAR racing at its finest," said Logano. "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. It has been so long and we have had so many chances and it feels like sweet redemption after everything that has happened here."

Logano had led the 39 of the final 40 laps after beating Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch off pit road following a caution flag on lap 458.

Although Keselowski is out of the playoff picture, he refused to give his teammate any quarter in the final laps and worked Logano's bumper for better part of 15 laps before Truex ducked into second place and started looking for a way around Logano.

On lap 490, Truex fought his way inside of Logano and the two battled side by side – clean – until Truex managed to clear Logano with one lap to go.

Coming into turn four on the final lap, Logano got into the back of Truex and pushed him up the racetrack and dived to the inside in a bid for the lead. Truex fought back and banged doors with Logano, getting him sideways as the two came across the stripe.

Hamlin, running in third, powered past Truex to take the runner-up spot by a car length.

Joey Logano (22) beats Denny Hamlin (11) and Martin Truex (78) to win at Martinsville
Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Following the race, a bitter Martin Truex, Jr. said "He (Logano) may have won the battle, but he ain't going to win the damn war.", seeming to suggest that payback was in the offing.

"I'm just not going to let him win (the championship). I'm going to win it," said Truex, Jr. "We raced him (Joey Logano) all clean. We passed him clean all day long and just out ran him in the long run. I pretty much had the feeling going to the backstretch that that was going to happen and there was nothing I could do about it. It sucks, but that's the way it goes. I can promise you I won't forget what he did.

"I was next to him for six laps. I never knocked him out of the way. We were going to race hard for it in my book. I cleared him fair and square. We weren't even banging doors for me to pass him. He just drove into the back of me and knocked me out of the way. That's short track racing, but what goes around comes around."

Logano's team owner, Roger Penske, certainly saw things differently.

"(Truex) is a racer and should know better than to say that.  That's as clean a shot as you can have in a race like this," said Penske. "I didn't hear Kyle Busch or the 4 (Kevin Harvick) have any kind of conversation after that race.  Joey ran a great race.  As far as I'm concerned, that's just a comment that I don't think we deserve.  We'll race him day after day.

"Stirring some controversy that he's trying to spread.  From my perspective, Joey drove a great race.  The team won on pit road.  You can see that, how many times he got out front.  Leading the number of laps shows the job that Todd and the team did.  That's my position."

While Logano locked up one of the four slots available in the Championship 4, the points race behind him tightened up with Kyle Busch atop the Cup Series standings and Truex and Kevin Harvick tied for second, 21 points behind Busch.

RACE RESULTS

FinStrCar DriverTeamLapsPtsStatus
11022Joey Logano (P)Shell Pennzoil Ford50059Running
2311Denny HamlinFedEx Freight Toyota50054Running
33378Martin Truex Jr. (P)5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota50045Running
4118Kyle Busch (P)M&M's Halloween Toyota50049Running
572Brad KeselowskiThomas Built Buses Ford50033Running
6641Kurt Busch (P)Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford50043Running
7199Chase Elliott (P)SunEnergy1 Chevrolet50034Running
81631Ryan NewmanE-Z-GO Chevrolet50039Running
9819Daniel SuarezARRIS Toyota50028Running
10124Kevin Harvick (P)Busch Beer Ford50029Running
11510Aric Almirola (P)Smithfield Ford50027Running
123448Jimmie JohnsonLowe's for Pros Chevrolet50025Running
131337Chris BuescherBush's Chili Beans Chevrolet50024Running
141547AJ AllmendingerKroger ClickList Chevrolet50025Running
152313Ty DillonGEICO Chevrolet50022Running
16171Jamie McMurrayMcDonald's Chevrolet50021Running
171488Alex BowmanNationwide Chevrolet50020Running
183638David RaganMDS Transport Ford50019Running
191817Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Fifth Third Bank Ford50018Running
20412Ryan BlaneyMenards/Moen Ford50020Running
21214Clint Bowyer (P)Rush Truck Centers Ford49926Running
223521Paul MenardMotorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford49915Running
23246Matt KensethWyndham Rewards Ford49914Running
242872Cole WhittMOEN Chevrolet49813Running
252034Michael McDowellDockside Logistics Ford49712Running
262120Erik JonesDeWalt Toyota49411Running
272996* DJ Kennington(i)Xtreme Concepts/iK9 Toyota4930Running
282795Regan SmithWRL General Contractors Chevrolet4929Running
292215Ross Chastain(i)Ternio Chevrolet4920Running
30253Austin DillonDow Chevrolet4917Running
313823JJ Yeley(i)Adirondack Tree Surgeons Toyota4910Running
323299* Landon Cassill(i)StarCom Fiber Chevrolet4900Running
333951Jeb Burton(i)Jacob Companies Chevrolet4890Running
343743Bubba Wallace #Pioneer Records Management Chevrolet4883Running
353000Joey Gase(i)Donate Life Chevrolet4670Running
362632Matt DiBenedettoKeen Parts/CorvetteParts.net Ford4511Running
37942Kyle LarsonFirst Data/Clover Chevrolet3931Engine
384066* Timmy Hill(i)Rewards.com Toyota3680Engine
391124William Byron #Liberty University Chevrolet3641Accident
40317* Hermie Sadler IIIVirginia Lottery Chevrolet2301Brakes

 

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