TALLADEGA, Ala – Joey Logano hasn’t won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race since June 10 at the Michigan International Speedway. If he wants to avoid being the first defending Cup Series champion to get eliminated prior to the Round of 8, he has to hope for a better result in next Sunday’s race at the Kansas Speedway.
See, Logano has one top five finish now in his last 14 races. Eight of his last 11 races have seen him finish outside of the top 10. That includes Sunday’s 11th place run in the 1000Bulbs.com 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway.
The Team Penske driver had a fast race car all race, but he was an innocent bystander in the Lap 162 “Big One.” Kurt Busch was getting push from behind too hard on the backstretch and it got his No. 1 Chevrolet into William Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet too hard. The contact sent Byron spinning and into Logano who was minding his own business while running in the outside line.
“It scared the crap out of me because it came out of nowhere,” Logano said of the incident. “I was riding around and everything was good in second place and, ‘Boom.’ The next thing I know I’m sideways and up in the air.
“My team did an amazing job today because when we got done with the crash the hood was up and I couldn’t see. The thing was barely rolling with four flat tires and everything else, and they got it to where it would run and then got through another crash to get the lucky dog and finished 11th on the day.”
Logano’s saving grace was his dual second place finishes in each stage. That gave him 18 additional points on the race. He’s now eighth in the Cup Series playoff standings with one race to go in the Round of 12. The gap he has between himself and ninth place Alex Bowman for the final spot?
“Two second places in the stages and an 11th-place finish with a crashed race car isn’t ideal, but it’s way better than it could have been, so I’m proud of that,” Logano continued.
Coincidentally enough, both Logano and Bowman had a run-in towards the end of the second stage. Logano, was getting drafting help in a big way from Clint Bowyer with four laps remaining in the stage which propelled his No. 22 Ford out far enough to have a big run on Bowman for the lead. Bowman, moved to block Logano’s advances which saw Logano run into the back of Bowman and send him out of control.
Bowman, would crash and finish 37th. He’d get luck in scoring eight stage points in the first stage which is why the gap isn’t wider.
Bowman, admitted that he was in the wrong for his move that he made.
“My guess is that I threw a block I shouldn’t have thrown a block,” Bowman said. “I got shoved way out there. I knew the No. 22 (Joey Logano) was coming and I just tried to move down just a little bit. As soon as he touched me, it just turned it sideways. They just had a bigger run than I realized. I should have let them go and shouldn’t have thrown a block. I apologize to all the cars that got torn up, that’s on me. Talladega happens. I hate it for all of our sponsors.”