Joey Logano Edges out Martin Truex Jr. in Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, VA – OCTOBER 28: Joey Logano, the driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, crosses the finish line ahead of Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota, to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 28, 2018, in Martinsville, Virginia.
Photo – Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

The first race within the Round of Eight was hosted in Martinsville Speedway. This half mile paperclip gave a good show in yesterday’s race as it usually does. Tight racing with drivers bumping each other for position. With this being the first race of this round of the playoffs, all eight drivers have their eyes on the championship round in Miami.

The first stage of the race was a battle between the two Joe Gibbs teammates of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. The two Toyota drivers swapped positions early in the race until Kyle Busch was able to solidify his position. Denny Hamlin made a late pass in the stage and was able to pick up the win in the first stage.

Joey Logano restarted the second stage in the first position. He dominated all afternoon and was able to hold his position leading the field around. Logano won the second the stage of the race and picked up some critical playoff points.

Logano continued to show the speed, but Martin Truex Jr. battled all day long and found himself fighting for the win after starting the race at the rear of the field. Logano and Truex. Jr battled hard for the lead spot late in the race. Racing hard side by side, Truex Jr. was able to take the lead with a lap left, but Logano was able to reach Truex Jr.’s bumper heading into turn three. Logano edged inside and was able to force the action double wide. Bumping down the front stretch, Truex Jr. became loose and Logano took the checkered. With Truex Jr.’s car getting loose, this allowed Hamlin to beat him for the second position. After a crazy finish, however, Logano is the first driver to clinch his spot in the championship round.

A tough ending for Martin Truex Jr.’s day as he fought hard to find contention to win late in the race. Truex Jr. race Logano clean down the stretch. Logano’s controversial move definitely raised some eyebrows. Just a hard battle between two playoff drivers, and the bump and run maneuver is a ‘go to’ for someone trying to steal a win.

Some may say Logano deserved to win after leading 309 laps yesterday. On the contrary, Martin Truex Jr. fought hard all day to give himself a chance late in the race. Regardless, these two foes could very well see each other in the final championship round. This could potentially become a battle for years to come, and they definitely put on a solid show late in yesterday’s race.

After yesterday’s race, the playoff picture shows that the last four drivers in the standings are Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Chase Elliot, and Kurt Busch. There is a decent gap between Kurt Busch in the fifth place spot and Kevin Harvick who is know forced into the fourth place spot. 25 points separate these two. With that said, it will take some solid efforts by these last four drivers.

Next week’s race is at Texas Motor Speedway and ISM Raceway in Phoenix will follow. Three races left until a champion is crowned and some drivers are starting to cool off late in the playoffs. Next week’s race in Texas will be a race for some of these drivers to respond back.

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