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Published: Tue, October 25, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Logano wins Talladega to advance in NASCAR's playoffs

Logano wins Talladega to advance in NASCAR's playoffs

Joey Logano repeated as victor of the Hellmann's 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, joining Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick as Chase for the Sprint Cup second-round race winners to advance to the third round, Round of Eight, of the Chase.

In the early stages of the race, it looked like the rookie driver had the speed in his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to compete for the win, leading a total of nine laps after battling for the top spot with Brad Keselowski. After that, he did what his Penske Racing teammate couldn't do - complete the deal.

And another promising driver, Austin Dillon, might've had the worst feeling after losing a tiebreaker with Denny Hamlin for the final spot in the Round of 8 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Truex won a pair of races in the opening round of the Chase, and was above the elimination line Sunday and only needed a decent day to advance into the third round.

Not bad for a driver who earlier in the race left pit road with a jack stuck under his vehicle and drove all the way around the track before returning to pit road for a penalty.

But he and teammates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch instead ran most of the race from the back, far enough behind to take proper action if a major wreck occurred ahead of them. "Then (Truex) blew up and that was the caution we needed to stay on the lead lap after making an extra pit stop". (44) Brian Scott 3. He waited until the final quarter mile to make sure the two were clear of traffic before he jumped out of line. "I wasn't sure what lane to go into (at the end). I thought I got it cooled off and only got it slightly over, but I don't know". "It was exciting at the end, and, yes, I felt at any moment at the end somebody was going to try to hang me".

"There's a lot going through your mind", Logano said, "a lot more than thinking about winning".

"Yeah, you know, it's heartbreaking obviously..." said a defeated but positive Dillon after the race in the media center. If you like building around a big name, Johnson is a nice contrarian play to Kevin Harvick in cash games. "We had a fast Toyota Camry and it's just a shame it ended the way it did". I took the bottom and overall, it worked. "I really like this track".

Seven of the top ten finishers from the Talladega race in May finished outside the top ten. Hamlin finished third and Dillon was ninth. They ended the round tied in points, but the eighth and final slot went to Hamlin on a tiebreaker.

Unsurprisingly, all four Joe Gibbs Racing cars have advanced to the Round of 8 in the Chase. Those three drifted to the back of the pack to avoid any trouble since their spots in the third round were secure.

Martin Truex, Jr put down a fast lap of 193.423 miles per hour in round two of qualifying to take the pole at the Talladega Super Speedway.

Matt Kenseth qualified third and was followed by Chase Elliott, who is also in a must-win situation.

"Feels good to win on a clutch moment like that with the pressure on", said Logano, who repeated as the race victor.

"I got nervous", he added. "That's a do-or-die spot".

In a season of high achievement muted by missed opportunity and misfortune, the latest twist eliminated the Furniture Row Racing driver from championship contention. Well, this is just like Homestead a couple of years ago.

"I knew the situation. That was (Sunday). It's fun to be able to succeed under that".

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