This past weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway provided some excitement and controversy when Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. raced for the win. Logano used the old-fashioned bump-and-run to move Truex out of the way for the win and some people were not pleased, including Truex.
Was this fair play or dirty pool by Logano? Should he have made a clean pass or was what he did just fine for a berth to Homestead on the line?
Meanwhile, we have never seen a driver outside of the Championship 4 win the final race at Homestead in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since the implementation of the current elimination format. This could be the year that happens as several favorites have been eliminated from the playoffs and many are very good at Homestead.
Is this the year it happens, or do we once again see a Championship 4 driver win the race to win the championship?
Q: How do you feel about Martin Truex Jr.’s comments about Joey Logano after the race on Sunday? Fair game by Logano or dirty pool? Walter P., Newark, DE
A: All fair game. There is absolutely nothing wrong with what Logano did to Truex. That is the typical short track racing we all love to see in NASCAR. The bump and run is the most famous short-track move and Logano executed perfectly.
Now Truex feels it was dirty because he raced Logano clean all race long and Logano acknowledged as much post-race. If you go back and look throughout the race, Truex did bump Logano quite a few times for the race lead. This may not have been the case in the final 10-15 laps, but earlier in the race, there was contact. Truex took it a bit overboard, but I can understand the frustration of losing a race as big as Martinsville and a chance to get to the Championship 4 at Homestead.
Short track racing showed its finest display Sunday at Martinsville. We saw drivers move each other out of the way, but in the old-fashioned way, without completely dumping the driver like Denny Hamlin did with Chase Elliott last season in this same race. There is a big difference with what Hamlin did versus what Logano did.
It was thoroughly enjoyable to see such great racing. Truex was strong throughout the race after starting in the back due to failing pre-race inspection. He was very determined to try and win his first short track race of his career and it seemed like Sunday was one of the best opportunities to get that elusive win.
People will complain that it was a dirty move because Truex is a clean racer and argue that he would not have made the same move had the situation been reversed. However, when something as important as a championship is on the line, these things will happen and Logano took advantage of it to get the win.
There was absolutely no dirty pool by Logano and his move was completely fair. While I can’t say it was clean, the bump and run is going to happen when wins are as valuable as they are these days.
Fans are going to have issues with Logano and the move he made but in reality, they need to move past it and realize he did nothing wrong.
Martinsville is always entertaining and that will never stop. Sunday was proof enough of that.
Q: Is there a chance that this is the year we see a non-playoff driver win at Homestead? Or will one of the Championship 4 win once again to clinch the title? Amanda S., Olympia, WA
A: There is a good chance that some non-layoff driver will win at Homestead this season for a few reasons. I know ever since this format came out in 2014, a Championship 4 driver has won the race, but this is the year somebody else wins.
The playoff field has been insane this season and favorites such as Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski, both of whom are more than capable of winning in Homestead. Larson has been arguably the best driver at Homestead since his rookie season in 2014 and he will be one of the favorites, if not the favorite, heading down there in a few weeks.
There are still four very strong drivers who are going to be eliminated after this round too, so we cannot forget that they can be spoilers when the series heads to Homestead as well. I have been waiting for the season where one of the Championship 4 does not win the final race of the season and instead have to race it out near the front of the field or in the middle of the pack.
While watching the championship contenders fight for the win is the most entertaining option, watching the “race within a race” for the title further back in the field would certainly provide for a different perspective.
We have seen similar situations in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck series, but never in Cup. This could definitely be the year it finally happens at NASCAR’s top level. I feel very confident that it will and Larson is the guy who can get it done.
After the disappointing year he has had, it would be fitting for Larson to go out with a win at his best track and have some momentum going into next season.
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