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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Speeding on Pit Road: Atlanta - Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, and Martin Truex Jr.

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The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series visited the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday for its annual trip to the "Peach State". It was the first race with the new aero-package and resulted in many different storylines. In a new weekly series, "Speeding on Pit Road", we will discuss a driver having a bad entrance to the race entitled "too fast entering", a driver who had bad luck during the race entitled "too fast on pit road", and who is leaving Atlanta with a dark cloud over their head entitled "too fast exiting".

Here is the first edition of "Speeding on Pit Road" from Atlanta.

Too Fast Entering - Joey Logano

After finishing fourth in the Daytona 500, Logano complained about Michael McDowell going behind Kyle Busch instead of himself at the end resulting in Denny Hamlin basically running off with the victory. The luck failed to come at Atlanta for Logano who failed to move past the first round of qualifying on Friday (Feb. 22nd). On Sunday, his luck looked to be going in the right direction midway through the race but it didn't come without some drama early. Logano, pitting behind Alex Bowman, had issues on pit road with Bowman blocking him in his stall. 

Logano later threatened over the radio that the next time that happened, he's gonna knock the car off its jack. To prevent from that happening the next time, Logano pulled in early blocking the No. 19 car of Martin Truex Jr. That then resulted in Truex repeating the "gonna knock him off the jack" stated by Logano earlier in the race. After that incident, everyone minded their p's and q's and nothing more was done by all three drivers. 

Logano ended up front toward the end but a loose wheel resulted in the No. 22 team surrendering the second place running position and the opportunity at the win. Logano would finish the race in 23rd.

Too Fast on Pit Road - Kyle Larson

It looked as if Kyle Larson was going to snap a long winless streak. The No. 42 car looked the strongest it had in a very long time. During the entire 2018 season, Larson had just one speeding penalty. On Sunday, Larson earned his first of the 2019 season and with track position being so important, he watched the victory go to Brad Keselowski with another opportunity gone. Larson would just stall out in the top 15 and ultimately finish the race in 12th. 

It's going to be one of those races that the driver of the No. 42 will look back and think what could've been.

Too Fast Exiting - Martin Truex Jr.

Martin Truex Jr. came so close to earning his first victory with Joe Gibbs Racing but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Truex battled with lapped traffic toward the end, mainly Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Truex would complain following the race that those cars were being disrespectful to those drivers racing for the lead.

Truex would still finish the race in second but he will have to wait another weekend to earn his first victory with Joe Gibbs Racing and deliver the No. 19 its first victory since 2016 with Carl Edwards at Texas. Truex showed on Sunday, he will be a threat the rest of the season, as long as lapped traffic stays out of his way.

Photo: Brandon Wright/Brandon Wright Photography
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