Logano shoves past Truex to earn shot at NASCAR championship

Logano shoves past Truex to earn shot at NASCAR championship

Logano led 309 of the 500 laps. I'm not going to let him win (the championship).

Truex and Logano raced side-by-side over the final 10 laps, and Truex took the lead coming off Turn 2 on the final lap. The two spent the final few laps battling side by side and nose to tail, before Truex, who had a faster vehicle, got by on the final lap. The contact caused both cars to wiggle, but Truex went almost sideways while Logano corrected after a swerve, straightened himself out and hurtled across the finish line.

The win was not a popular one with fans as the crowd at Martinsville showered him with boos after the contact-marred final laps.

But it's quintessential NASCAR, not all that different from what Logano did to Matt Kenseth to win a playoff race at Kansas three years ago.

Logano won the opening race to the third round of the playoffs by using the bumper on his Ford to shove Truex out of his way on the final lap. "He raced really clean, and I laid the bumper to him, so I don't expect him to be happy".

"We raced hard there", Logano said.

"He's a racer and should know better than to say that", Logano's Team Owner Roger Penske said in reference to Truex's cheap shot comments to the media following the race.

SHR driver Aric Almirola is in his first playoff situation, advancing to the round of eight thanks to a victory at Talladega. As the third round began at Martinsville, Hamlin is racing only to keep a personal streak alive. He finished second at Martinsville, where he is a five-time victor.

Playoff contender Clint Bowyer damaged his vehicle slightly on pit road during the break after the stage.

During pit stops, Bowyer slammed into William Byron as Byron was about to enter his pit stall, sending the No. 24 Chevrolet for a spin. The deal with Ally covers all 38 races a season - a huge financial commitment in present-day NASCAR. Johnson formally introduced his sponsor on NBC Sports' live pre-race show.

Ally will replace Lowe's, which is leaving NASCAR at the end of the season. The wreck inevitably ended Hamlin's hopes at a title, so this is not abnormal when it comes to NASCAR.

A win at Martinsville on Sunday, or at one of the next two races, earns one of those drivers an automatic berth into the championship finale.

Busch won Martinsville last year to earn a spot at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and he has been so good all year as a member of NASCAR's so-called "Big 3" that advancing to the finale is nearly a given.

Eight drivers started the day vying for the four spots in the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

If the championship were to take place this week, Logano would be up against former Cup Series title winners Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick, otherwise branded "The Big Three" this season.

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