Joey Logano wins big one at Talladega as NASCAR’s Chase shrinks down to eight
Logano jumped ahead after a restart on Lap 191 at the 2.66-mile track and beat runner up Brian Scott to the finish line by .124 seconds. Logano had been hampered by a tire jack under his car after a pit stop earlier in the day,managing to persevere.At the end of the race, he was credited with 45 laps led.
Hamlin’s margin over Dillon for the eighth spot in the Round of 8 was much smaller.Hamlin outraced Kurt Busch for third place by .006 seconds to score the exact number of points he needed to eliminate Dillon from the Chase on a tiebreaker.The top ten finishes in the race behind Logano were Brian Scott, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon and AJ Allmendinger.
“It’s never a layup here at Talladega,” Logano said. “It’s always close. You never get a big lead. (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. I was able to stay on the bottom and try to run the bottom and keep everyone in line, and that worked out really well.”
Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson already had secured spots in the Round of eight, thanks to their respective wins at Kansas and Charlotte.Truex Jr. also went out of the race due to engine trouble.Martin Truex and Brad Keselowski joined Chase Elliot and Austin Dillon as the latest eliminated drivers.
“The good news is you don’t have four people that you’re trying to work with as you go into the Chase,” team owner Roger Penske said.
“We can put all of our efforts on one car and Joey, and of course Brad is one of the biggest supporters of Joey, so I think this will pay dividends for us.”