Sunday, October 25, 2015

Joey Logano Wins Following Wild Talladega Finish

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Joey Logano won the 500 from Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon.

The victory was Logano’s third straight victory, giving him a three-race sweep of the Contender round of the Chase.  Logano said the victory is a reflection of his team’s hard work this season.

Photo courtesy Chris Graythen/Getty Images
“This team is unbelievable, three in a row,” Logano said.  “What an amazing team we’ve got.  We came to play this year.”

After running without a caution for the first half of the race, the ending of the race was marred by controversy.  Earlier in the week, NASCAR announced that instead of the customary three green-white-checkered attempts, they would instead go with just one attempt at a GWC finish at Talladega. 
After a late-race caution, the field was set to have a GWC attempt.  Before the field could make it to the start/finish line, a wreck mid-pack caused the caution to come back out, and NASCAR said that attempt did not count because the leaders had not taken the green flag.  Logano said the call confused him.

“Well I was confused after the first one…I thought the green flag flew and it was an attempt but NASCAR said no,” Logano said.  “We play by NASCAR’s rules in their sandbox, so we’ll play by those and thankfully it worked out for us.”

On the final restart, Kevin Harvick made contact with Trevor Bayne, which started the “Big One” at the front of the pack.  Harvick, who’s engine had been down on power, said he was trying to get out of the way when he made contact with Bayne.  

NASCAR threw the caution just before Dale Earnhardt Jr. could take the lead, which allowed Logano to pick up the victory.  Earnhardt said regardless of the outcome, he supported NASCAR’s call.

“Another 100 yards and I’d have been in the lead, but NASCAR makes the calls,” Earnhardt said.  “I have 100 percent faith in the choices that they make.  I’m not going to be too upset about it, I did everything I could.”

Following the race, four drivers were eliminated from the Chase: Earnhardt, Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin.  

The eight drivers who advance to the Eliminator Round starting next weekend in Martinsville:
1. Joey Logano
2. Carl Edwards
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Jeff Gordon
5. Kurt Busch
6. Martin Truex Jr.
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Kyle Busch

Unofficial results:
1. Joey Logano
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Brad Keselowski
5. Carl Edwards
6. Paul Menard
7. Martin Truex Jr.
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
10. Kurt Busch
11. Kyle Busch
12. Ryan Newman
13. Michael Waltrip
14. Austin Dillon
15. Kevin Harvick
16. Aric Almirola
17. Sam Hornish Jr.
18. Jimmie Johnson
19. Kasey Kahne
20. Greg Biffle
21. Trevor Bayne
22. Cole Whitt
23. Bobby Labonte
24. Kyle Larson
25. Tony Stewart
26. Matt Kenseth
27. Danica Patrick
28. Michael McDowell
29. Josh Wise
30. David Ragan
31. Casey Mears
32. David Gilliland
33. Alex Bowman
34. Landon Cassill
35. Travis Kvapil
36. AJ Allmendinger
37. Denny Hamlin
38. J.J. Yeley
39. Jamie McMurray
40. Matt DiBenedetto
41. Timmy Hill
42. Justin Allgaier
43. Ryan Blaney

Photo courtesy Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

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