Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott failed to advance to the Championship 4 after their finishes in Sunday’s Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway.
Logano finished ninth and ended up seven points below the cutline and the Team Penske driver will not have a chance to defend his 2018 championship.
“We’re gonna go there to win,” Logano said of his approach to next week’s season finale after being eliminated from the playoffs. “Our goal is the same whether we’re in the playoffs or not, it’s to win. We’re going to prepare the same way and our goal is to go down there and win”
Blaney, who had a shot at winning on the final restart but got passed by eventual race winner Denny Hamlin, wound up finishing third. It was the same spot he finished in the ISM Raceway spring race and he ended up 31 points below the cutline.
“It was tough for sure out there,” Blaney said. “I thought the PJ1 helped a little bit, but not much. You could get a small run, but that’s it. They have to figure something out. It’s going to be a letdown if it’s like this next year.”
Larson was right behind Blaney and despite finishing in the top 10 in the last four ISM Raceway races missed the cut by 33 points.
“I would like to battle for a championship next week,” Larson said. “We did a good job in the Playoffs; I feel like we’ve learned a lot. We stayed consistent, didn’t get too anxious at times and got good finishes. I think we’ve ran in around the top-10 in every race, but Talladega. It was good.
“We finished top-10 at Martinsville in the Playoffs, so that was an improvement. We’ll try and be better for next year; get our cars a little bit better for these short tracks and have a better shot.”
Elliott had to win Sunday to keep his championship hopes alive. But a cut tire went him into the wall and out of the race on lap 165.
“I’m not sure why we had a tire go down,” Elliott explained. “I think that’s what happened, at least; it seemed like it. It’s unfortunate.”
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