Logano wins at ‘Dega; Earnhardt, Kenseth, Hamlin, Newman eliminated


Joey Logano held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the start of a green-white-checker attempt before another caution froze the field of Sunday’s CampingWorld.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, handing the victory to Logano.

The race finished eight laps longer than the 188 scheduled laps, making it a 196-lap event. There was one attempt at a green-white-checkered finish after NASCAR altered the policy (which normally permits three attempts) for Talladega only.

Logano swept all three races in Round 2 with wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Talladega.

There was one GWC attempt to restart the race after a late caution on Lap 184 when Jamie McMurray‘s engine expired. However, the field failed to reach the start/finish line prior to yet another caution resulting from contact between Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Larson, prompting NASCAR to rule it was not an official GWC attempt and that the race had not resumed.

That prompted another GWC, and Logano was ahead of Earnhardt by about a half-fender when the green flag dropped on the restart, followed almost immediately by a race-ending caution that involved at least a dozen cars, the only big wreck of the race.

The multicar crash appeared to start when Kevin Harvick, whose No. 4 Chevrolet was experiencing engine problems, hit the No. 6 Ford of Trevor Bayne.

Just as important as the win was for Logano, the other big story was the four drivers who were eliminated from advancement in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Nearly one hour after the race ended and much discussion and review of video tape, NASCAR officials determined that the final results stood — for now. However, those results remain unofficial until NASCAR does further review and rules those results official on Monday.

Pending any change when results are made official, Earnhardt, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman were eliminated as the Chase field was cut from 12 to just eight remaining drivers.

Earnhardt led a race-high 61 laps and finished second, unofficially followed by Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards. Sixth through 10th appeared to be Paul MenardMartin Truex Jr.,Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kurt Busch.

MORE: Results and earnings from CampingWorld.com 500

MORE: Points reset heading into Round 3 of the Chase

How Logano won: In perhaps the most important restart of the season, Logano crossed the start/finish line as the green flag fell on Lap 196. Almost immediately afterward, a multi-car wreck occurred, prompting NASCAR to throw a caution flag that immediately froze the field and ended the race.

Who else had a good race: Despite being eliminated from advancement to Round 3 in the Chase, Dale Earnhardt Jr. still had a strong run. He led the most laps (61) and finished second. … Even though he still has yet to win a race in 2015, pole-sitter Jeff Gordon finished third in his final race at Talladega and advances to Round 3 of the Chase. … Even though he was eliminated from the Chase after Round 1, Paul Menard had a strong run and finished sixth in Sunday’s race.

Who had a bad race: Denny Hamlin was hampered by a loose exit hatch above him, causing him to fall two laps off the pace and to be eliminated from the Chase. It was a similar situation to that of teammate Kyle Busch last year, who came into Talladega ranked No. 2, but exited No. 11 and was eliminated from advancing to Round 3. … Jamie McMurray was running strong until his engine expired on Lap 184. Justin Allgaier and Ryan Blaney both suffered early exits due to engine problems, as well. … Matt Kenseth was in a win-or-else situation, but finished 26th, being involved in the last-lap multi-car wreck.

Notable: In his 59th career start at Talladega, Michael Waltrip had a strong run, finishing 13th. … Logano has now won 11 races in the last two seasons, the most of any driver in that period. Logano is also the first driver to win three straight Chase wins since Jimmie Johnson in the 2007 Chase and 2004 Chase. … There were no issues in post-race inspection. The cars of Logano, Earnhardt, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman and Michael Waltrip were all taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, N.C., for further inspection, as is routine after every race.

Quote of the day: “I was thirsty anyway. There were a couple of iced cold Coca-Cola’s, too. Everything’s okay. I was trying to peg them off the front bumper, off the windshield. It was cool they exploded. It was kind of neat.” – Race winner Joey Logano after his car was hit by several thrown cans of beer and soda after the final lap.

What’s next: Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500, Nov. 1, Martinsville Speedway.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.



Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway


After the fireworks from the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR heads to World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile speedway just outside of St. Louis. Sunday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1) marks the second time the Cup Series has raced at this track.

Much is at stake. The race to win the regular season championship has intensified. Tempers are high. The pressure to make the playoffs builds. Ten drivers have wins this season. Twelve races remain in the regular season.


Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 11th
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Richmond, Martinsville)
  • Past at WWTR: 12th last year

While a driver coming off back-to-back finishes of 20th or worse might not seem like a frontrunner, it actually does make Larson one. His topsy-turvy season has seen him place outside the top 10 in back-to-back races four times. In the three previous times he had consecutive finishes outside the top 10, he came back to finish second, first and second. Can he keep that streak going this weekend?

Bubba Wallace

  • Points position: 15th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Las Vegas I, Kansas I, Coca-Cola 600)
  • Past at WWTR: 26th last year

Wallace has scored three consecutive top-five finishes, his best streak in his Cup career. He has climbed from 21st to 15th in the standings during this run.

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I, Darlington I)
  • Past at WWTR: 19th last year

Byron has finished no worse than seventh in the last five races. He’s led nearly 20% of the laps run during that time. Byron has averaged nearly 47 points a race during that streak.


Corey LaJoie

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Atlanta I)
  • Past at WWTR: 36th last season

NASCAR’s one-race suspension to Chase Elliott gives LaJoie the chance to drive a Hendrick Motorsports car for the first time. This will be the best car LaJoie has driven in his career. Many eyes will be on him to see how he does.

Ross Chastain

Chastain has finished 29th and 22nd in the last two points races. He’s not gone more than three races without a top-10 finish this season. After his struggles last weekend at Charlotte, Chastain saw his lead cut to one point over Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney in the standings. Five drivers are within 17 points of Chastain in the season standings.

Aric Almirola

  • Points position: 26th
  • Best finish this season: 6th (Martinsville I)
  • Past at WWTR: 5th last year

Almirola has finished 13th or worse in all but one race this season for Stewart-Haas Racing. In the five races since placing sixth at Martinsville, Almirola has finished an average of 21.0.

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin


NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Hamlin forced Elliott toward the wall. Elliott’s car slapped the wall. Elliott then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.