Joey Logano Wins Talladega as Four Drivers Eliminated from Chase

Talladega Superspeedway has a reputation for chaos. As the last stop in the Round of Twelve, several drivers enter the race needing a victory in order to keep their championship hopes alive. Talladega would prove itself to be the major decider in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, with many Chase drivers struggling. Joey Logano would come back from issues to win, but the race saw four drivers eliminated from Chase contention. Rookie Brian Scott finished second, his career-best.

Joey Logano Wins Talladega as Four Drivers Eliminated from Chase

Issues for Chase Drivers

Chase drivers were plagued with issues throughout the race. Eventual race winner Joey Logano comes out of pit road early in the race with a jack dragging under the car. Pit road speeding penalties fell on Denny Hamlin. These are less problematic as Logano and Hamlin both qualify for the Round of Eight. However, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. are now eliminated as a result of their issues. Truex Jr. faces elimination as a result of a blown engine, ending the championship-favourite’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. Brad Keselowski faced overheating issues throughout the race with debris on the grill of his car. Although the debris was cleared, the damage was done. Keselowski blew an engine, and his chances at his second championship.

Tiebreaker

One of NASCAR‘s biggest intentions with the Chase is close points competition. Having Talladega as a deciding race has brought this forward, as the final transfer spot in the Round of Eight is decided by a tiebreaker. The completion of the race saw Denny Hamlin and Austin Dillon tied in points for elimination. Tiebreakers in the Chase are decided by highest finish in that particular round. Dillon’s highest finish in the Round of Twelve being sixth, so Hamlin needs a finish of fifth or better in the event of a tie. With the 2016 Daytona 500 Champion finishing third, Hamlin advances to the Round of Eight.

Who’s In, Who’s Out

ROUND OF EIGHT DRIVERS:

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Matt Kenseth
  5. Carl Edwards
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Kurt Busch
  8. Kyle Busch

DRIVERS ELIMINATED:

  • Austin Dillon
  • Chase Elliott
  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Brad Keselowski

Two favourites for the championship are eliminated from contention: Keselowski and Truex. Both fell victim to engine failure resulting in their elimination. Dillon, having lost the tiebreaker, is no longer in contention for the championship. However, 2016 has been a breakout season for Dillon. Although he has not yet found his way to victory lane, he has found a consistent pace and runs strong. After last week’s heartbreak, Chase Elliott needed to win Talladega to advance. The rookie has been eliminated from the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Despite this, Elliott has still impressed greatly in his rookie season in having competed in the Chase. With the pressure of the Chase off of him, look for Elliott to score his first career victory before the season is over.

Round of Eight Preview

The Round of Eight is made up of three tracks: Martinsville, Texas, and Phoenix. Each of these tracks are tailored to the strengths of Jimmie Johnson. Although he has had something of a lacklustre season, look for Johnson to be fighting for the championship in Miami. Kevin Harvick could continue his streak of having never been eliminated from NASCAR’s Chase at Phoenix, which is perhaps his strongest track. With Hamlin squeaking in to the next round, he will not be taking this next round lightly. The Busch brothers are also strong on upcoming tracks, and because of this, will remain drivers to watch. Matt Kenseth is also particularly strong at these courses, save for Martinsville. Finally, Carl Edwards has struggled to find the consistency that the others have. Although he has qualified for the Round of Eight, time will tell if he can make it to Miami.