Joey Logano, driving the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, was victorious for the 47th Annual CampingWorld.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Sunday afternoon. The race ended under caution with a controversial caution that fans will question perhaps for a long time.
Logano has 14 career victories in 251 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and he has six wins for the 2015 season. This is his first victory at Talladega in a season that provided many first track victories like Daytona, Watkins Glen and at Charlotte; his other wins were at Bristol and Kansas. Logano secured his position in the Chase with the victory at Charlotte, but the Team Penske driver would go on to sweep the Contender Round.
“We’ve got momentum, that’s for sure,” said Logano. “We have to keep this dream rolling. This team has been firing on all eight (cylinders) right now. It’s amazing all these different types of racetracks we’ve been able to win at this season, how hard everyone keeps fighting. We have to keep this dream rolling,” said Logano. “We have a long way to go. We are back to zero going to Martinsville, so we need to make something happen in the next three races. We want the big trophy at the end of the year, we want to win every trophy in between, but we want the big one at the end of the season.”
For the most part the race was uneventful but that all changed when the caution came out on Lap 185 for oil on the track from Jamie McMurray’s #1 Cessna Pink Chevrolet setting up the only green-white-checkered finish. As crews took 10 laps to clean the 2.66 mile track the field lined up, when the green flag waved Logano while leading the pack spun his tires, not unusual at Talladega, causing the field check up, resulting in both Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Larson spinning behind the leaders causing the caution to wave even before the leaders crossed the start/finish line leaving NASCAR to set up another green-white-checker attempt since the first was invalid.
“You gotta be kidding me. That was an attempt! Junior (Earnhardt) rules, that’s what those are,” Logano radioed his crew implying that the restart was called off to give Earnhardt Jr. another shot at the victory.
With another restart looming, since the first restart had been called unofficial, the field was reset and once again the green flag was shown to the field, but like the previous restart prior to the leaders hitting the start/finish line mayhem ensued as Kevin Harvick, another Chase driver, reported engine problems with his #4 Chevrolet. As Harvick held his line Trevor Bayne would attempt to go around the ailing Chevy, Harvick moved up the track to block, when his #4 tapped the rear of Bayne who was driving the #6 Ford. Bayne turned into oncoming traffic triggering the big wreck that would end the race. That froze the field with Logano as the leader, letting the victory go to Logano.
With Logano gaining the last three victories, he now has 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup wins over the past two seasons since he joined Team Penske, most among all drivers in NASCAR’s top touring series.
Logano, who has a beer logo on his Penske Racing Ford, drew the ire of the fans who felt Earnhardt Jr. should have won. With the grand stands full of disgruntled customers booing on Logano’s celebratory victory lap tossed many beverages at the #22 Ford.
“Kind of a shame they were throwing their beers full,” said Logano. “I feel bad. They should have drank’em. It was like it was raining out there. That’s Okay! Everyone is passionate about their driver, and that’s what makes our sport great.”
With the Chase field reset now to even with eight drivers who are still in contention when the third round of the Chase for the Championship begins next Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Qualifying for the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 will be Friday, October 30, at 4:20 p.m. ET coverage will be on NBCSP at 6 p.m. Race coverage will begin Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on NBCSP to continue the Chase for the Sprint Cup with the Eliminator Round.