Clouds get in Joey Logano’s way at Richmond

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA - AUGUST 14: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway on August 14, 2022 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

It all seemed to be going his way. For a time Sunday at Richmond Raceway, Joey Logano was the class of the field. He seemed well on his way to a third win at the .75-mile track, his last one coming in 2017.

After starting 17th and finishing Stage 1 in 7th, Logano charged to the lead for the first time on lap 134 and went on to win Stage 2 easily.

In all he led a race high 222 of the 400 laps run, but just under 70 laps from the end he started to fade.

“Yeah, I think just as the sun went down and the track cooled off and lost some turn on our car,” Logano said. “Kevin (Harvick) and some others got a lot better the last couple of runs in the race. When it was hot and slick that was probably our strength with the Shell Pennzoil Mustang.

“We had good turn and then once it cooled off we lost the turn but still weren’t real good on the exits. Then you start playing defense and running too hard. It was a downhill slope from there. I was hoping for a late race caution, that was our only prayer at the end there. Overall, we got a stage win and playoff points and that is something to be proud of.”

Harvick won, Logano finished 6th.

“It stinks when you say we led 222 laps but not the right one,” Logano said with a smile.

With his team locked into NASCAR’s Playoffs, Logano was hoping to get the encouragement and motivation that can only come with putting an entire race, including a win, together.

“It means we are executing really well throughout the race and able to get something out of a race when we don’t have a fast enough car,” he said. “When you have days like today when you have a fast enough car you want to capitalize. We did as far as playoff points and a stage win but not enough at the end of the race. We need these ones to be race wins instead of just stage wins but I feel like we are starting to come into our own here and getting a little more solid and situated more in the top five than we have been. I am proud of that. We just have to keep that going.”