Team Penske’s Joey Logano stormed into the semifinal round of the 2016 Chase on Sunday with another victory at Talladega Superspeedway. He put the #22 Ford in front for good late in the Hellmann’s 500 and kept it there over the final 45 laps to notch his 16th career victory and 2nd this season. Logano also won last fall’s race on the sprawling 2.5-mile Alabama oval and is just the 2nd driver in 14 years with back-to-back victories in this event. Clint Bowyer is the last one to do it, in 2010 and 2011.
Richard Petty Motorsports rookie Brian Scott challenged Logano down the stretch but fell twelve one-hundredths of a second short at the checkered flag. Denny Hamlin finished 3rd to lead a parade of 4 Joe Gibbs Racing drivers into the Round of 8. Kurt Busch and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. completed the top 5. Pole sitter Martin Truex, Jr. led only 2 laps before retiring with engine failure midway through the first half of the race. His 40th place finish eliminated Truex from the post-season Chase. He’s joined on the sidelines by Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski – who also was knocked out by engine failure on Sunday, after leading a race-high 90 laps. Dillon finished the Round of 12 tied with Hamlin for the 8th and final transfer spot but lost the tiebreaker, based on a driver’s best finish in the current round of the post-season. Dillon’s was 6th last weekend at Kansas Speedway, Hamlin’s was 3rd on Sunday.
Yesterday’s race went 4 laps past its scheduled distance because of a late caution for Alex Bowman’s spin.
– story by John Singler