Joey Logano was in the right place at the wrong time. As the race leader at Talladega, he was dammed if he did and damned if he didn’t. The manufacturer numbers were stacked against him.
No matter how it’s broken down, the Team Penske driver knew he was in big trouble shortly after the final restart in the GEICO 500.
“My best shot was if they (Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman) got side-by-side behind me,” said Logano. “But when they restarted and they dumped Kyle [Busch] and left him out there by himself, it was just a line of Chevy’s behind me.”
Logano watched as Elliott and Bowman dumped Kyle Busch out of the pack and then did the same to Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was Logano’s only Ford ally. Logano laughed when saying he knew he was going to be the next “dumpee” and sure enough, Elliott and Bowman powered by with another Chevrolet driver, Ryan Preece. Those three finished first, second, and third while Logano wound up fourth.
“Numbers were stacked a little bit against me,” said Logano. “The Chevys did a good job working together this weekend, and that’s where their strength was at the end. We had a very fast car we just didn’t have enough Fords up there at the end of the race … that happens. I thought I was in a pretty good spot. We led a bunch of laps with our MoneyLion Mustang, just man, there at the end, the 1 [Kurt Busch] has a big run and felt like I had to block that, and when I blocked that I can’t block both (lanes), and the 9 got underneath me. If I chose the bottom and block the 9 I had the 88 behind the 9, and they were just going to go by me as soon as they formed a run.
“I was in a not-very-good spot. Once I got on the outside, I thought that was going to be a better spot to be than the bottom, but teammates there didn’t race each other to the end, which is good on their part because it made sure one of their cars won. … I really think even if it was green to the end it would have looked exactly the same. There were no runs built, there was no momentum going anywhere.
“It’s a tough spot to be in. You think you’re in a good spot — anytime you can take the front row on a final restart you take it especially here at Talladega, but it’s tough when the numbers are stacked against you. But the team did a good job, the car was really fast and that’s what we have to be proud of.”
Last year’s winner at Talladega, Logano led nine times for 37 laps on Sunday.