Joey Logano nearly drove to the finish line untouched Sunday afternoon in the rain-delayed Bank of America 500 while other playoff contenders suffered a myriad issues.
Originally scheduled for Saturday night, the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway was postponed and rescheduled for Sunday afternoon after rain tormented the speedway and surrounding areas. The delay proved to be ineffective as Logano shined and led a race-high 227 laps while comfortably finishing above Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. in the first race of round two in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup.
“What a great car,” Logano said. “You always want to win with the home turf. Charlotte is definitely home turf and you want to make it happen here.”
Logano will be resting easy the next two weeks as he sealed his spot in the next playoff round win the win at Charlotte.
“This makes Talladega way easier,” Logano said. “I know that’s on everyone’s mind when this round starts and last year we won Kansas when it was the first race of this round and now we were able to get it this time at Charlotte. We’ll get lots of sleep here the next couple of weeks.”
Harvick was on Logano’s tail all afternoon as he was searching for a second consecutive win in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Ultimately, Harvick was unable to maneuver his way around the Team Penske No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, finishing second, less than one second behind Logano.
“I think everyone saw how fast he was last week and it probably made a lot of people nervous,” Logano said referring to Harvick. “Our team kept their heads up and stayed confident. We know we can beat them. We know we’ve got what we need over here, and our team is as tight-knit as they get.”
Nevertheless, the race didn’t conclude without the inevitable drama that surrounds the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Just after the race hit the midway point, Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson tangled on pit road, drawing minor damage to both cars. Busch initially chose to enter pit road but made a last-second decision to stay on the track. Larson had the complete opposite idea as he committed to entering pit road abnormally late. The result was an inopportune collision.
Ultimately, the accident shifted them outside of the top-five which they each had occupied prior to the collision. Neither driver was able to rebound from the collision as their winning chances disintegrated with the damage each car sustained.
“I don’t know what happened,” Busch said. “My guys don’t deserve to be put in these situations year in and year out, but we are for some reason.”
Larson expressed his sympathy post-collision.
“I feel really terrible to ruin their day and hopefully it didn’t hurt their chances of transferring through this round,” Larson said.
They day wasn’t as gloomy for Chase for the Sprint Cup contender Jeff Gordon as he overcame a tough start and an ill-handling car to finish in the top-10 in his final race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“The way we started I thought we were going to be in big, big trouble today,” Gordon said.
The finish puts Gordon in a favorable position heading into Talladega in two weeks time but he admitted that no one wants to race at the Superspeedway knowing they need a top-10 finish to advance in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
“Nobody wants to go to Talladega, even if you’re Dale Earnhardt Jr.,” Gordon said. “It’s just one of those tracks where there’s too many variables that can reach out and grab you and things that are out of your control. So, yeah, we’d like to go in there with a cushion.”
The dozen drivers remaining in the Chase for the Sprint Cup will meet up next Sunday, Oct. 18 at Kansas for the Hollywood Casino 400 before testing their luck at Talladega, Oct. 25.