Showing posts with label Talladega. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Talladega. Show all posts
Joey Logano

Although things were much different this time last year for the No. 22, Joey Logano still managed to find himself in a familiar place on Sunday - Talladega Victory Lane. Logano dominated the Round of 12 in 2015, sweeping all three races and establishing himself as the front-runner for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Fast forward 12 months and the No. 22 was battling to simply advance. Logano managed to surge ahead on the Lap 191 restart and pull out an overtime win to repeat as the Hellmann's 500 champion. “I feel good,” he said after the race. “ was going to be tough after what happened in Charlotte, so to be able to recover and win in a clutch moment like this to move us on feels really, really good.”

Joe Gibbs Racing

While their regular season dominance may not have yet shown itself in the Chase, Joe Gibbs Racing's quartet of Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth still found a way to show why they're the team to beat. All four drivers have advanced to the next round of the Chase, without a single Chase win between them, thanks to some cautious race tactics at Talladega. “It’s a playoff and you’ve got to say what is smart and so you certainly don’t want to make a big mistakes of some kind and cost your sponsor and everybody that’s wrapped into this,” said team owner Joe Gibbs about the team's defensive strategy.

XFINITY Series Changes

Early today, NASCAR announced rules that will limit how many XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series races full-time Sprint Cup drivers can race in 2017. Drivers with more than five years of full-time Cup experience will be limited to maximum of 10 XFINITY and seven Camping World Truck Series contests beginning in 2017. Additionally, those drivers will also be held from competing in both Series' finales at Homestead-Miami Speedway and any XFINITY Dash for Cash races. “The updated guidelines will elevate the stature of our future stars, while also providing them the opportunity to compete against the best in professional motorsports,” said NASCAR Senior VP of Racing Operations Jim Cassidy.


NASCAR Returns to the Commonwealth
The eight drivers who survived Talladega with championship dreams intact now turn their attention to Martinsville and the only short track in the Chase. Could this be where one of the JGR Toyotas, who've led 1,545 of the 3,307 laps raced on short tracks this year, captures its first playoff win? Hometown Hamlin was the last one to visit Victory Lane, winning the regular-season finale at Richmond International Raceway, and has five wins at the half-mile track. Teammate Kyle Busch also won at Martinsville in April, but it's Hendrick's Jimmie Johnson who has seen the most success in Southwest Virginia (eight wins, 23 top-10's in 29 races).
Kevin Harvick

Lock it in Kevin Harvick. The 2014 Champion will join Jimmie Johnson in the Round of 8 after a win in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. The No. 4 jumped in front of then-leader Carl Edwards on a late race restart, and held on through the final 30 laps for his fourth win on the year. "These races are hard to win and these guys are so good at the details," said Harvick, "When you put their backs against the wall they're even better. I'm so proud of them." Harvick has never been eliminated under the current Chase format, racing for a Championship at Homestead each of the past two seasons.

Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch

Carl Edwards will just have to wait a little longer for a win at his home track, after losing the lead to Kevin Harvick on a late race restart. "That last restart Kevin and Jimmie (Johnson) just lined up on the bottom and they got far enough ahead to where I couldn't hang on the outside," said Edwards after his second place finish on Sunday. "And I ended up having to race Kyle (Busch) really hard there for a few laps and it let Kevin get out ahead." Rather than try and chase down the No. 4, Edwards spent the rest of the afternoon fending off Busch for the final 30 laps. "That's racing I guess," said Busch of the back and forth. This isn't the first time we've seen the JGR teammates race one another hard. Edwards famously bumped the No. 18 on the final lap of the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 at Richmond International Raceway to secure his second win of the season.

Brad Keselowski

It'd been nearly two years since the No. 2 hadn't finished a NASCAR Sprint Cup event, but for the first time since the 2015 Daytona 500 Brad Keselowski suffered a DNF in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400. Heading into the cutoff race in Talladega, the 2012 Champion is sitting 11th and eight points behind Joey Logano in the 8th position. On the plus side, Keselowski took home the May race at 'Dega, and is the only repeat winner in the last 11 races at the track. After a strong season racing on superspeedways (two wins in three races), he's got as strong a chance as any to race his way into the Round of 8.


Five races down, five to go. We've reached the midway point in the Chase and there's plenty of intrigue as the postseason makes the turn down the backstretch. The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas, who were so dominant in the regular season, have been consistent but unremarkable through the Chase's first half. The only exception would be Martin Truex Jr, who is one of three Chase race winners we've seen along with former champions Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson. Two of the Chase newbies are gone, and the two remaining are in danger of missing the cut come Sunday. The cutoff race in Talladega looms large as we move one step closer to crowning the NASCAR's 2016 Cup Champion.

Talladega's GEICO 500 wasn't the easiest race for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Amelia. While two wrecks and an early exit led to a 40th place finish for NASCAR's "power couple," it was an issue with 70 laps left that may have been the most bizarre.  Coming through turns 1 and 2, Earnhardt pulled the steering wheel off it's column, causing him to actually steer the car with his hand to avoid the wall.  "Luckily it was under caution. I just grabbed the shaft and steered the car that way. Might of ripped the skin off my hand, but I wasn't going to let it hit the wall," said Earnhardt.  "That was just a freak deal." Fortunately he was able to get things back in working order on the backstretch.

A lot of drivers didn't finish through the chaos in Sunday's race, but Tony Stewart's reason was different than most. On lap 53, the three-time champion (who's still recovering from off-season back surgery) gave way to Ty Dillon, who was able to race back from a lap down to a sixth-place finish at the Superspeedway. While Stewart was disappointed he couldn't race on, he was thrilled with the way Dillon finished the race. “I really appreciate Ty (Dillon). He's been a rock star through this whole thing and especially this weekend," said Stewart. "He's done all the heavy lifting and I just got in to ride around for 50 laps and turn it over to him.”

It's only a matter of time before "The Big One" hits when it comes to Talladega. But Sunday's action saw 35 of the 40 car field involved in accidents, 16 of which came within the last 10 laps. “About everybody had some sort of damage and was tore up. I don't think there was a car that came out of this place without needing the body all redone," said defending Sprint Cup Champion Kyle Busch. 

Now We Got Bad Blood
One of NASCAR's biggest rivalries got another shot in the arm last weekend, as Matt Kenseth put the bulk of the blame for his involvement in a lap 173 crash on Penske driver Joey Logano. It's understandable why tensions are high, as both drivers have run well in 2016 but neither have found their way into Victory Lane yet. Well that could change this weekend. Logano has won two of the past three races in Kansas City, and no driver has a better average finish at the track over the last five races. No active driver has led more laps at the 1.5-miler, and he took home back-to-back victories between 2012 and 2013. For reasons both on and off the track, you can bet a lot of eyes will be on these two come Sunday.