Logano shoves past Truex for Martinsville win

Florence Fletcher
November 3, 2018

Truex slid sideways across the finish line and promptly declared Logano won't take his title from him this year.

Hamlin, who had an excellent long-run auto but couldn't fight his way past fourth-place finisher Kyle Busch and fifth-place Brad Keselowski in time to challenge for the win, nevertheless had a ringside seat for the pyrotechnics between Logano and Truex. The contact caused both cars to wiggle, but Truex's slide was almost sideways while Logano corrected after a swerve and straightened himself out as hurtled across the finish line.

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

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.

Instead, Truex wound up third and joined those jeering Logano during a post-race interview. "He knew exactly what was going on", Penske said, adding Keselowski also didn't deliberately impede Truex trying to move closer to Logano.

"I'm just not going to let him win it; I'm going to win it...he may have won the battle, but he ain't won the damn war".

In the case of Hamlin and Elliott, the then 21-year-old Elliott got his revenge on Hamlin a few races later at Phoenix, wrecking Hamlin when he was in a position to win the race a few weeks later at Phoenix. "You've just got to expect it at Martinsville, you're going to have some bumping and grinding in the race".

"Just thinking about Miami", Logano said. "Some may not like it".

Behind Truex is Joey Logano, who led 309 laps on the day and was the dominant vehicle in the field. The two spent the final few laps battling side by side and nose to tail, before Truex, who had a faster auto, got by on the final lap. He had a door-to-door battle going with Truex for much of the final 10 laps.

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Truex thought he was clear and headed for his first career victory on a short track. Instead, Logano used his bumper to claw the victory back into his control and earned an enemy while doing so.

"I was next to him for six laps, I never knocked him out of the way. (If) Harvick has a better three races than we do, he's in on points versus us". And I cleared him fair and square. We weren't even banging doors. However, he quickly noted that just because he won the spring Martinsville race it didn't mean he would run well at the October event. His only other win was at Talladega Superspeedway and Team Penske has been overshadowed on the track by Ford partner Stewart-Haas Racing. "But what goes around comes around".

"Brad could have blocked (Truex)".

"It's cheap. But he's got his spot to go to homestead". The second-guessing if he'd tried nothing would have lasted the entire third round of the playoffs or until he won a race.

Hamlin is a five-time victor at the Virginia paperclip.

The weekend of action at Martinsville Speedway culminates on Sunday with the First Data 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

Lowe's has sponsored Johnson since his 2001 debut but is leaving NASCAR at the end of the season. Lowe's has been on Johnson's vehicle since his debut in 2001 through seven championships.

And his hopes for the start of Sunday's race because he's starting midpack?

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