If Joey Logano’s victory in Sunday’s Hellman’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway was decisive—in relative terms—the race between Denny Hamlin and Austin Dillon for the final pot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup’s Round of 8 was anything but.
In an overtime race that went four laps past its scheduled distance, Logano surged ahead after a restart on lap 191 at the 2.66-mile track and beat runner-up Brian Scott to the finish line by 0.124 seconds.
Hamlin’s margin over Dillon for the eighth spot in the Round of 8 was much smaller. At the end of 510.72 miles, Hamlin outraced Kurt Busch for third place by 0.006 seconds—roughly two feet—to score the exact number of points he needed to eliminate Dillon from the Chase on a tiebreaker. Continue reading →
2016 NSCS Stewart-Haas Racing Drivers, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch Photo – Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Despite both Stewart-Haas Racing drivers Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick earning top-ten finishes in Sunday’s Hellman’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, there was apparent tension between the two drivers post-race.
2015 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick was upset with teammate Kurt Busch following Sunday’s 192-lap race after he claimed Busch hit his car after the checkered flag flew. Continue reading →
TALLADEGA, AL – OCTOBER 23: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, drives to the garage after an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hellmann’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 23, 2016 in Talladega, Alabama. Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
Two drivers who were among the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season’s most productive winners won’t be in the race for the championship.
Former champion Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr., winners of four races apiece this year, fell out of Sunday’s Hellman’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway with blown engines and failed to qualify for the Round of 8 with four races remaining on the schedule.
Also knocked out of the championship group Sunday were Austin Dillon and rookie Chase Elliott.
The Chase will continue next weekend at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. Continue reading →
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, walks on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hellmann’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 22, 2016 in Talladega, Alabama. Photo – Patrick Smith/Getty Images
With his three Joe Gibbs Racing teammates running at the back of the field throughout Sunday’s race to protect Round of 8 spots, Denny Hamlin had no obvious friends at the front of the field to help him join his teammates in the next round of the Chase.
But Hamlin revealed after finishing third behind Joey Logano and Brian Scott that he had received help from unexpected quarters in doing just enough to beat Austin Dillon for the final berth on a tiebreaker. Continue reading →
TALLADEGA, AL – OCTOBER 23: Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet, races Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hellmann’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 23, 2016 in Talladega, Alabama. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Facing an overtime restart with two laps left in the Hellman’s 500 on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, crew chief Slugger Labbe reminded driver Austin Dillon of the relevant numbers.
Dillon had to finish no more than five positions behind Denny Hamlin to secure a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup’s Round of 8—as long as Hamlin didn’t win the race.
Dillon had done everything right to that point. He had earned a bonus point by staying out for an extra circuit and leading lap 117 under the second caution of the afternoon. He gained three spots after a restart on lap 186 and was 11th when the green flag waved for the final time on lap 191. Continue reading →