Logano Repeats at Talladega
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on October 23, 2016 | 5:36 P.M. EST
It was Logano’s second win of the season and 16th of his Sprint Cup Series career. (Photo: Getty Images)
Joey Logano successfully defended his win in the fall race at Talladega Superspeedway when he took the checkered flag in Sunday's Hellmann's 500.
Logano was able to stay ahead of the pack in an overtime finish to advance into the Round of 8 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
“It’s never a layup here at Talladega,” Logano said. “It’s always close. You never get a big lead. A good Shell/Pennzoil Ford. (Crew chief) Todd (Gordon) made some good adjustments during the race and found some speed in the car, so that was pretty neat to see some of that. We got that track position and just hung onto it.”
It was Logano’s second win of the season and 16th of his Sprint Cup Series career. He led one time for the final 45 laps of Sunday’s race.
“I feel good,” he said. “If we can get through this round, it was going to be tough after what happened in Charlotte, so to be able to recover and win in a clutch moment like this to move us on feels really, really good.”
Scott finished behind Logano to score his career-best performance.
“I appreciate guys running with me up there in front even though I’m a rookie,” Scott said. “Just a great day for this Richard Petty Motorsports team. We know how frustrating a year we’ve had and a finish like today is just tremendous.”
Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top five.
Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon and AJ Allmendinger completed the first 10 finishers.
The race was the final of the second round in the Chase and eight drivers move on; Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Logano, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin, who made it in on the tiebreaker after ending up with Austin Dillon in the standings.
The Round of 8 begins next Sunday with the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
How Logano Won: He held off Scott and the field in an overtime finish. Logano, who had to come back from an early race problem on pit road when a jack got stuck under his car during a tire change, drafted to the front of the field and put himself in position to challenge for the win by getting into the lead pack. He had debris on his grille that could have created an engine issue but it didn’t and Logano was able to make it back to back trips to Victory Lane in the fall race at Talladega to move on in the Chase.
Who Had a Good Day: The eight drivers that were able to move on in the Chase certainly had a good day but Hamlin had to be particularly happy edging Dillon in the tie breaker. Hamlin was ahead of Kurt Busch by a couple feet at the finish line, which turned out to be the difference in keeping his title hopes alive.
Who Had a Bad Day: It was a devastating day for Martin Truex Jr., who saw his championship hopes end with a blown engine on lap 42. Despite winning two races in the opening round that helped him become a title favorite, the Furniture Row Racing driver will have to wait until next year for a championship run…Three drivers were caught in a mess on lap 115 when Greg Biffle, Casey Mears and Jeffrey Earnhardt all got together in turn four and the trio slid together into the inside retaining wall…Brad Keselowski needed to win in order to move on in the Chase and was dominating the race until an engine blew, perhaps after getting debris on his grille that caused the powerplant to overheat…Kasey Kahne spun with seven laps to go and collected Jamie McMurray, who had nowhere to go but into the side of the No. 5 car…Alex Bowman spun in the tri-oval (but did a nice job of controlling his car) to set up the overtime finish.
What Else Happened: By Talladega standards, Sunday was a relatively calm race. There wasn’t any of the infamous “Big Ones,” although several drivers did exit in incidents. The rhythm of the race had its ebbs and flows, but in typical fashion once the checkered flag drew near the intensity level was ramped up in the closing laps, particularly in overtime.
Quotable: "It sure would have been nice to at least find out and at least play the whole game...and see what would have happened,” Martin Truex Jr. after leaving the race with a blown engine and being eliminated from the Chase.
Noteable: Team Penske has won the last three races at Talladega…Kurt Busch had his best finish since finishing fourth at Kentucky in July…Stenhouse Jr. scored only his sixth top-10 finish of the season.
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