Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NASCAR ; Logano Wins Talladega with Controversial Finish

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NASCAR ; Logano Wins Talladega with Controversial Finish

Article excerpt

TALLADEGA, Ala. - Joey Logano used a controversial finish at Talladega Superspeedway to sweep the second round of NASCAR's playoffs and end Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s championship chances. The race ended under caution when reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick stumbled on the final restart to trigger a multi-car accident in the middle of the field. Because NASCAR said this week it would make just one attempt to finish the race under the green flag, the field was frozen and Earnhardt was denied the chance to race Logano for the win.

Logano went 3 for 3 in this second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, and in doing so the Team Penske driver eliminated two of the top title threats.

Earnhardt, who led a race-high 61 laps Sunday, finished second but was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

Also knocked out of the field Sunday was Matt Kenseth, who was spun by Logano last week as the two raced for the win at Kansas. Kenseth, who has been furious with Logano for a week, left Talladega displeased with Harvick's late-race tactics.

Harvick informed his team under caution he had a mechanical issue that was preventing him from accelerating, but he stayed in line and his inability to go on the restart triggered the race-ending accident.

"It was a pretty tough ending. (He) knew he was blowing up and told everybody he was going to stay in his lane, Kenseth said. "It just feels like we kind of lost control of the situation.

Denny Hamlin echoed the sentiments of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate. He was caught in the accident and had to climb from his flaming car, and said after that Harvick caused the wreck rather than risk losing positions on the track that would knock him out of the Chase.

"The 4 could only run about 30 miles an hour, I think he saw people coming and he knew he was so probably going to be 30th, the last car on the lead lap, so he caused the wreck, Hamlin said. …

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