Joey Logano Edges Hamlin And Truex Jr. In Dramatic Martinsville Playoff Finishby Camille Jones October 28, 2018 0 comments
RIDGEWAY, Va. — Joey Logano held off Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. in a thrilling battle for the win in Sunday’s First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway, claiming his spot in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4.
Logano is now locked in to have a chance at winning his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18. On the white flag lap on Sunday, Truex had the lead by a nose, but coming to the checkered flag, he and Logano collided. As the two drivers uncontrollably made their way to the finish line, Logano just barely edged Denny Hamlin, with Truex finishing third
“That was just a hard great race,” said Logano. “NASCAR racing at its finest. It was a lot of bumper banging towards the end and a hard race. You know, we didn’t wreck each other. We bumped into each other a lot and that is what this sport was built on. I know a lot of fans out there aren’t too happy about it but it is racing and that is what NASCAR is about and what stock car racing is. I am just glad we finally won here. It has been so long and we have had so many chances and it feels like sweet redemption after everything that has happened here.”
Logano led 309 of 500 laps on Sunday afternoon, but the race came down to a door-to-door battle for a spot in the Championship 4.
“They won the battle, but he didn’t win the damn war,” said Truex.
On Logano advancing to compete for the championship, Truex said, “I’m just not going to let him win it. I’m going to win it.”
Truex was disgruntled following the finish, expecting cleaner racing.
“I was next to him for six laps,” said Truex. “I never knocked him out of the way. We were going to race hard for it in my book. I cleared him fair and square. We weren’t even banging doors for me to pass him. He just drove into the back of me and knocked me out of the way. That’s short track racing, but what goes around comes around.”
Hamlin was able to jump into second at the checkered flag, losing by just 0.107 seconds. The Virginia native started the race in third, and he led 31 laps throughout the afternoon. In the end, Hamlin just got held up battling for position in the closing laps and wasn’t close enough to make the winning pass.
“It was obvious we had such a good long run car that was coming there at the end, but those guys were leaning on each other and it looked like a fun battle,” Hamlin said. “I just wish I was a little closer to kind of be able to capitalize on it, but I just got held up there by the 2 (Brad Keselowski) and the 18 (Kyle Busch) a little bit, but those guys were racing. The 18 especially for a big prize, so I had to be patient around him. It just took a little bit too long.”
NASCAR Playoff competitors, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five.
Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman, Daniel Suarez and Kevin Harvick completed the top-10 in the finishing order.
In a reasonably calm race at Martinsville Speedway, there were 8 cautions for a total of 68 laps.
Following the First Data 500, Logano leads the NASCAR Playoff standings. Kyle Busch is second, 46 points ahead of the Championship 4 cutline. Martin Truex Jr. (+25) is third, followed by Kevin Harvick (+25), Kurt Busch (-25), Chase Elliott (-31), Clint Bowyer (-42) and Aric Almirola (-50).
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will head to Texas Motor Speedway for the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday, November 4. Live coverage will broadcast on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 3 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com
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