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Joey Logano Sweeps Contender Round with Bizarre 2015 CampingWorld.com 500 Win at Talladega

Head scratching, bent fenders and eliminations.

None of which involved Joey Logano at Talladega Superspeedway, who grabbed a controversial victory in the CampingWorld.com 500 following two multi-car crashes on green-white-checkered restarts. The win is the third in a row for the Team Penske driver and career-high sixth of the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season.

“This team is unbelievable,” Logano said. “Three in a row, can you believe that? How does that even happen? What an amazing team we got. We’ve come to play this year.”

The final restart with two laps to go in the 500-mile event was short-lived as a chain-reaction crash with Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Larson prompted NASCAR to throw a caution before the field reached the start-finish line. NASCAR determined the attempt was never started and a second shot was given to officially restart the race for a GWC result.

“I was confused after the first [restart],” Logano said. “I saw the green lag fly and I was like, ‘Man, I thought the green flag flew and that was an attempt.’ They said we had to do it one more time which was cool. We play by NASCAR’s rules, we’re in their sand box and well play by those. Thankfully it worked out for us.”

The second attempt saw a slow Kevin Harvick sparked a 12-car accident past the flagstand, which officially ended the race under yellow. Harvick was plagued with what he called a possible exhaust issue which made his a sitting duck.

“It wasn’t running very well on the restarts,” Harvick said. “And there at the end, I was just trying to get out of the way and I don’t know if I clipped the [No.] 6 or if he came across as I was coming up.”

Despite the issue, Harvick advances to the Eliminator Round with a 15th-place result.

“It’s just one of those days where everything went well until the very end,” he said.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove an impressive race throughout the day, leading a race-high 61 laps after a pit-road penalty. The Hendrick Motorsports driver was on the losing side of the end, finishing second behind Logano in what was a must-win race.

“Another 100 yards I would’ve been in the lead,” Earnhardt said. “But NASCAR makes the calls. They’re the governing body and I have 100% faith in the choices they make. I’m not going to be too upset about it, I did everything I could. I’m proud of myself, proud of my team.”

The contact with Trevor Bayne triggered a mass of controversy, with drivers like Denny Hamlin stating it was intentional contact to cause a caution.

“He knew he was going to be 30th, last car on the lead lap,” Hamlin said. “So he caused a wreck.”

Hamlin was a victim of the crash, slamming into the rear of Tony Stewart and bursting into flames. It was a tough ending to a tough day for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver, who had a roof hatch come loose in the middle stages of the race.

“We had a self-inflicted day,” said Hamlin who fell four laps down and finished 37th. “Took us four times to get our roof fixed. Just one bad race in a three-race season and it obviously takes you out. I really cant spin any positive on it right now.”

Matt Kenseth was in a must-win scenario for Sunday and got out front early before he fell back and got involved in the last accident. Kenseth joins teammate Hamlin in the eliminated drivers out of Talladega.

“It was a pretty tough ending,” Kenseth said. “The [No.] 4 knew he was blowing up and told everybody he was going to stay in his lane while he did that so somebody can get on his side and cause a wreck to finish the race. You can hardly blame a guy if he does that and wrecks some people going slow or he’s not going to make it if it goes green for two laps.”

Though the JGR teammates led the cavalcade of disappointment and defeat, there were those who leave the gates of ‘Dega in a good place.

Jeff Gordon started his last Talladega race on pole and led the opening eight laps. The No. 24 driver was a regular face out front working with teammates and came home third, propelling him to the Eliminator Round.

“Crazy, absolutely crazy. What a relief,” Gordon said. “I just cannot believe – this season has been a crazy season for us. But since the Chase started, the attitude of this team, the momentum and the execution. I never thought in a million years that I would be looking forward to coming to Talladega to advance through, but boy I did today.”

The final race of the Contender Round began with a 131-lap green flag run, the longest at Talladega since 2002 when the race went caution-free. Justin Allgaier ended the string on lap 132 after blowing a motor in the No. 51 Chevrolet.

Ryan Newman’s 12th-place finish was not enough to elevate himself to the third run of the Chase. He joins Earnhardt, Hamlin and Kenseth on the outside. Kyle Busch drove to an 11th-place finish to advance as Martin Truex Jr. overcame a qualifying miscue, a slow pit stop, and a lap lost to finish seventh, enough to secure his spot in the third round.

“Starting in the back wasn’t a big deal,: Truex said. “We planned on riding there for a little while to make sure there wasn’t an early wreck. Once that cleared, we were going to race our way up through there. We had a bad pit stop and lost the draft first stop. That definitely wasn’t part of the plan.”

The 196-lap race was populated by pack racing and thrilling action amongst Chasers. Truex said he had a blast in the clean race.

“Got to say the race was really, really fun today,” he said. “Everyone did a great job and it was a blast. Guys were really racing hard but we never seen a Big One. That’s a testament to the skills out there and everybody that we race with.”

Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards finished the top five as Paul Menard, Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kurt Busch completed the top 10. Michael Waltrip came home 13th while Greg Biffle – who led late in an attempted fuel-mileage win – finished 20th.

2015 CAMPINGWORLD.COM 500 RACE RESULTS

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Ken

Typical Talladega race! I was surprized that Logano won. But, the series of events at the end were bizarre to say the least. When the second last restart was waved off because of Johnson and Larson spinning, why were they not allowed to return to their previous positions when Harvick was allowed to. And why wasn’t Kyle Busch sent back the three positions he gained? Then, after what was the final restart, I was sure NASCAR was waiting to through the yellow until Junior got out front of Logano. Strange! And with that final restart and the ensuing crash, I see that on some sights that have any articles up already that fans are demanding penalties for Harvick, and others are saying that Logano should not have been declared the winner. Then there is the anger at only one green-white-checker. What is it with these people? Everyone, including Harvick, is using the rules to their advantage. And this is a restrictor plate race. The more G-W-C’s, the more carnage, which is why NASCAR decided to limit the G-W-C’s to one for this weekend. Get over it!

Speaking of disgruntled fans, I must say that Talladega fans are very vocal and mature, throwing cans and other things at Logano while he was doing his celebratory spins. Talk about angry, just because your favorite driver didn’t win. Didn’t they do the same to Gordon when he won there a few years ago?

kb

Ken I agree, it seems they took a very long time to throw the last caution hoping Junior would get up to speed, they had to throw the caution for safety and beer cans FULL beer cans rained on the winner. He didn’t make the damn rules. He actually laughed about it, but not the point. Glad I wasn’t in those stands. Mob mentality. People are nuts. As for the Harvick thing, oh boy…..

Lot of insane fans on the internet with some very vengeful, hateful, revisionist history going on. And some clearly without a basic understanding of racing. Today was not typical Dega, weird, weird, weird.

It took a second year, but the folly of The Chase is in full bloom for all to smell, doubt Nascar will get the hint.

kb

…And apparently Logano should have rolled for Junior too. SMH.

Phil H

don’t think I agree with throwing things because “your favorite driver didn’t win”! If that were the case, then it would be every race fans would throw things because your favorite driver didn’t win.

It was mainly paying big bucks and not seeing the race finish with someone going full on to the finish line. Nascar doing this just one try at G-W-C that pretty well brought that drink toss on. Yep, it was for safety but fans got that thrown at them after most probably had those tickets bought. I mean when you heard this prior to the race, everyone absolutely knew that it was gonna happen and it was gonna suck!

The only way, and I think THE ONLY WAY, Nascar is going to remedy such an instance as what happened today is to go back to single file restarts. We know that ain’t gonna happen!

kb

Phil, I really believe given the Dega venue, it was a forgone conclusion Junior was it. They get a little nutty down there in the House of Earnhardt. I hope todays series of unfortunate events will be the impetus that might have Nascar change, you cannot have Junior fans unhappy at such a close call at his “home track”. It is good to see teams are finally getting vocal with Nascar and not doing the head in the sand garbage.

Bill B

Yes Ken, it rained cans when Gordon won at Talladega when a caution was thrown at the end of the race. In fact, that is what precipitated the GWC finish rules. I believe the truck series was already doing GWC and naturally all the Jr fans’ reaction at the ending of that Talladega race resulted in that policy being adopted by the other two series.

GinaV24

Oh yes, it was more than a few full beer cans that rained down on the 24 car that day. I wouldn’t have wanted to be wearing Gordon gear in the fans that day. As kb said, when it gets that nutty, well, it is beyond — sort of like being in the stands at an Eagles game wearing Cowboys or Giant’s gear.

The only time we went to a race there, I wore “neutral” gear (Chevy hat & shirt) not Gordon gear. The only track where I felt like that was a necessary choice.

JDinNC

Also, if I remember correctly, that was the race victory where Gordon passed Earnhardt Sr. on the all-time cup wins list.

Bill B

You are correct. 76th win to tie was at Phoenix in the spring race 04/21/2007. 77th to surpass was April 29th 2007 at Talladega and yes, that was the race where it rained beer cans. Good call. That would explain why more beer cans fell in the storm of 2007 vs the storm of 2015.

DoninAjax

As expected, the rules changed because a Hendrick driver needed another chance to win.

As expected, Harvick started a wreck to eliminate drivers who could beat him and just motored away. Damn, he’s good at that. Another reason to build up the anger towards him.

I can’t believe they didn’t give the win to Jr. I thought he was ahead of Logano. Can you imagine the fallout from that?

Brian’s got some explaining to do to Mr. Hendrick on Monday but he’s still got Harvick and Kurt and Gordon in the chase.

kb

He wasn’t ahead…they checked the replay and scoring loops. And from what I saw the dreaded Yankee was ahead albeit by “that much”. I swear they were waiting for him to trudge forward and that didn’t happen and the carnage was getting bigger, they had no choice. I am sure they didn’t want too.

SR37212

I hated this new chase format and now it’s turned disgusting. I was going to give Nascar another chance after they loosened up the cars but after watching the disgusting behavior of Lagano last week and Harvick this week ….. Sorry after 40+ years goodbye and I don’t wish you well at all.

kb

What did Logano do last week, but race the way he was being raced? Apples and oranges from last week to this.

Richie

At least Joey got into the rear end of Matt’s car. Harvick turned right into Bayne’s quarter panel. Not even close in comparison.

Richie

So… I’m biased. I despise Harvick. I fully believe his move into Bayne was intentional. I also believe that he did the only thing he could do to keep his chances alive in the BS playoff crap. That’s on NASCAR.
Also, I’m tired of having my leg peed on and being told it is raining… there is no way in hades you’re going to convince me that Jr is that much better at driving at Talladega than the other 42 guys on the track? Yet, whenever he wanted to, he could pass and go to the front. The fix was in, the only thing that kept Jr from winning was Jr.
Congrats to Joey and the Penske team, heckuva run they’re on right now.

Bill B

I despise Harvick as well. He’s a punk.
I will just point out that you got one thing wrong, the proper saying is “Don’t piss on my head and tell me it’s raining”.
Now, why don’t you make like a tree and get out of here. :)

Richie

Must be a regional thing? I’ve always heard it as leg, not head. Whatever the metaphor is, I stand by it!

Bill B

You may be right. Actually I just googled it and it seems like “leg” or “shoe” are the more prevalent uses. As I look at some of the results it appears that almost anything can be used, leg, shoe, ear, back, head, etc.. Makes sense. No one wants to be pissed on no matter where it lands.

Mike

In my little part in the Heart of Dixie it’s “don’t piss down my back & tell me it’s raining”.

Richie

Well, unless you are extremely er, um, well-endowed, the difficulty level of peeing on someone’s head or back is much higher than wetting their leg or shoe!

Bill B

Not if you are in the top row at the stadium LOL

Mike

Bill / Richie,

Thanks for a rainy Monday morning chuckle. :)

Richie

Touche’ Bill.

Bruce T

TV is going to be interesting as they try to build some excitement over this “play off” system and still mention Jr. in every other sentence.

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