This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
Joey Logano used his quick short-track pace to stay out front for much of Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway and to fight off Martin Truex Jr. in a last-lap pass to book the first spot in the final four championship contenders at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Penske Racing driver showed speed throughout the race weekend but was forced to make a controversial move on Truex on the final lap to come out on top. The pair had been dueling for the lead in the final laps, but last lap contact put the two side-by-side off of the final turn. Logano came out on top, while Truex walked away frustrated, saying he wouldn't let Logano win the championship after the move. The close and hard racing is exactly what NASCAR has been working to produce given the emphasis on winning in the final races of the season, and Logano's win sets up a titanic battle for the remaining seven playoff participants in the final two races before the winner-take all finale in Miami.
This week sees the second visit to Texas Motor Speedway of the season. This will be the second race in the final round of championship eliminations before the Miami finale,and could be a good chance for some championship contenders to Logano in the championship battle. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are the two most recent winners at the circuit, and both will be hungry to lock up their championship efforts early with another victory at the circuit.