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· Joey Logano won a thrilling last lap duel with Martin Truex Jr. to win the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway to advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the third time in five seasons he has raced for a championship in the NASCAR Playoffs. Truex Jr. passed Logano for the lead on lap 499 but Logano edged him to the finish line in a classic fender-banging short track finish, paperclip-shaped line one car length ahead of his rival (officially measured at .107 seconds).

· The win was the first Martinsville victory for Logano in 20 starts at the paperclip-shaped track. He won for the 20th time in 360 Cup races. He led 309 of 500 laps at Martinsville, a personal best for most laps led in a Cup race.

· Logano started tenth and was able to work forward to the seventh position, despite having to starting the race on the outside line. Through the first run, Logano reported the Shell-Pennzoil Ford was a little tight in the center, but he was able to make it rotate by moving up the track. On the first pit stop at lap 45, crew chief Todd Gordon elected to make an air pressure adjustment to give Logano more center turn.

· The adjustments made on the first stop gave Logano the additional speed needed in the No. 22 Ford propelling Logano to a second-place finish in Stage 1. On the ensuing pit stop during the stage caution, the team made no adjustments and Logano returned to the track with the lead to begin the second stage.

· Stage 2 ran green throughout with Logano leading every lap and collecting a stage win. He reported his Shell-Pennzoil Ford was a little free in and off the corners. Gordon made a minor air pressure adjustment and quick work on the pit lane put Logano when the final stage began on lap 269.

· At lap 359, Logano relinquished the lead after a spirited battle with Truex Jr., but a caution flag on lap 362 set up another round of pit stops under caution. Logano reported that his Ford Fusion was still loose in and off the corners, forcing the team to make an air pressure adjustment.

· Logano restarted second on lap 377 and led until 90 laps to go when teammate Brad Keselowski grabbed the lead. Another excellent pit stop under the final caution with 40 laps to go gave Logano the lead. He held off teammate Keselowski and Truex Jr. over the next 39 laps before passing his rival on the final lap.

 

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“That was just a hard, great race and NASCAR racing at its finest. 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. Our Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion car the last run got really tight in the center and I was really losing quite a bit of rolling time and that is what was allowing cars to get to me and then it was really hard to exit with cars right behind me. Now the next two weeks we think about Miami and nothing else. We have to go there and be ready and be prepared for it. One step at a time. We are going to enjoy this moment first and then we will worry about Miami tomorrow.”