November 18, 2018
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Logano sweeps amidst Talladega controversy

Marvin Gentry | USA Today Sports
Marvin Gentry | USA Today Sports
Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) leads the pack during the 500 Sunday at Talladega (Alabama) Superspeedway.

TALLADEGA, Alabama — Joey Logano cruised to his third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff victory on Sunday, claiming the 500 at Talladega Superspeedway and a sweep of the second round of the Chase playoffs.

“Dreams come true, I guess,” Logano said. “We have to keep this dream rolling. We have a long way to go. We are back to zero going into Martinsville (Speedway), so we need to make something happen in the next three races.”

After botching the new single green-white-checker attempt, Kevin Harvick’s car didn’t get up to speed, causing a pileup and subsequent caution. This brought another try at the green-white-checkered start. Logano held his spot to become first driver to sweep a three-race round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Logano won all three races in the Contender round of the Chase playoffs.

“I had a good start and the 24 (Jeff Gordon) was pushing me and the plan worked perfectly, but the inside lane started pulling back up,” Logano said. “I saw the lights come on when I was still in the lead, and I thought we had it. It is all about how the timing loops are and the camera to make sure that is what happened. It is such a crazy race. There were such long green-flag runs, you never see that. To pull it into victory lane here at Talladega is so cool.”

Logano became the first Ford driver to win three consecutive races since Rusty Wallace in 1994.

Dale Earnhardt finished second but was eliminated along with Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman.

Brad Keselowski was third and Jeff Gordon fourth.

“We did exactly what we needed to do (to advance in the Chase),” Keselowski said. “We stayed up front when it counted and took care of our race car. The guys gave me a good car. We worked together well with our teammates, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney, and at the end, we just finished it up strong. That’s exactly what we needed to do, and I’m really proud of everybody.”

Earnhardt led a race-high 61 laps and restarted alongside Logano for the final laps. He needed a victory to advance to the third round of the Chase.

Gordon started on the pole and led the second-most laps.


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