Joey Logano lowered the broom on Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday (Oct. 25), winning the CampingWorld.com 500 for a sweep of the three races in the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Logano took the lead when Greg Biffle had to pit for fuel eight laps from the end, then held on through two restarts to win for the sixth time this year and the 11th time in the past 61 races.
While winning three consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races is not that unusual – Kyle Busch did it earlier this season – this is the first time a driver has swept all three races in a Chase round. In addition, Logano is the first Ford driver to win three straight since Rusty Wallace in 1994.
“I am so proud of this team,” Logano said. “Three in a row is unbelievable. It’s amazing. I guess dreams come true. We just have to keep this dream rolling. We have momentum, that’s for sure.”
Logano will be joined in the next round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, who grabbed the final spot over Ryan Newman by only three points.
In addition to Newman, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were also eliminated from championship contention. One of the 11 desperate drivers vying for a victory in order to advance, Earnhardt Jr. finished second, only a few inches behind Logano.
“Just fell about the width of the splitter short,” said Dale Jr., who posted his 12th top-five finish and 16th top-10 in 32 starts at Talladega Superspeedway. “I’m not going to be too upset about it. I did everything I could. I’m proud of myself and proud of my team.”
Earnhardt Jr. was running outside the top 25 with less than 60 laps remaining following a pit-stop penalty. But he worked his way back into the lead barely 20 laps later and ended the day having led a race-best 61 laps.
“I’m real happy with how we ran today,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I’m more proud of the drive I had today than the two wins (earlier) this year. The two wins came a lot easier than this second place did. We got shuffled out and I didn’t know if I could get back up there.”
Jeff Gordon, the six-time winner who ties Earnhardt Jr. for second on the all-time win record at Talladega Superspeedway, finished third in his final race at the track. The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion is retiring at the end of this season.
“That was intense, that was wild, that was crazy,” a smiling Gordon said afterward. “I had a lot of fun out there today. It was so much fun to have a race car that strong and battling up front.”
Keselowski finished fourth, followed by Edwards in fifth, Paul Menard sixth, Truex seventh, Clint Bowyer eighth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ninth and Kurt Busch 10th.
Timothy Peters used some unexpected help to return to a piece of familiar ground last Saturday (Oct. 24) at Talladega Superspeedway for the fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race (NCWTS).
Peters passed leader Brandon Jones on a restart with two laps remaining to win the fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NCWTS race. It was the second consecutive victory at Talladega Superspeedway for Peters, who also drove to Gatorade Victory Lane in last year’s race here.
Peters made his pass thanks in part to a strong push from Spencer Gallagher, who is Jones’ teammate at Gallagher Motorsports. But when Jones chose to restart from the low side of the track, it placed Gallagher directly behind Peters on the high side, and Peters was able to use that aerodynamic assistance to power past Jones.
“Teammates are good for about 90 laps, but when you’re getting close to the checkered flag, you’re on your own,” said Peters, who began the race from the pole position. “I knew it was going to be every man for himself. I appreciate the push Spencer gave me.”
Jones, an 18-year-old NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie, finished second to post his sixth top-10 finish of the season and his fifth in the past seven races.
“We had a shot to win it, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Jones said. “After (Peters) got by me, there wasn’t too much else I could have done.”
Mason Mingus finished third, followed by NCWTS points leader Erik Jones in fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth. Jones leads Reddick by 18 points in the point standings.
Matt Crafton entered the race only four points behind Erik Jones in the standings, and Crafton led 43 of the first 66 laps. But Crafton dropped out of the lead because of an overheating issue and then got caught up in an incident at the end and finished 24th, dropping him 23 points behind Jones with only four races remaining.
“It was a really, really great day for us in the points,” Erik Jones said. “I never would have thought we’d come out of this race that far ahead. Everything from the best to the worst can happen at Talladega, and fortunately the best happened for us today.”
Peters dedicated his victory to Ashlee Richmond, the sister of team crew chief Marcus Richmond. Ashlee is battling cancer, and her name and a cancer awareness ribbon decal were displayed on the truck.
“It’s great to go to Victory Lane at Talladega with Ashlee riding shotgun with me,” Peters said. “This is just an awesome feeling.”