Joey Logano had the lead in Sunday’s GEICO 500 for the final restart on Lap 185 of 188, but the front of the field proved a tough place to be, given what was happening behind him.
First, Kurt Busch got a promising run, and Logano felt obligated to block the No. 1 Chevrolet. But that gave eventual race winner Chase Elliott a chance to surge into the lead at Talladega Superspeedway with an assist from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman.
Elliott’s victory broke a seven-race Talladega winning streak for Ford drivers, with Logano having accounted for three of those victories.
“At the end, the 1 (Busch) had a big run, and I felt like I had to block that,” Logano said. “When I blocked that I can’t block both and the 9 (Elliott) got underneath me. If I chose the bottom and block the 9, I had the 88 (Bowman) there, and they were going to go by me as soon as they formed a run.
“I was not in a very good spot. Once I got on the outside, I thought that would be a better spot to be than the bottom, but the (Chevrolet) 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. If they had gotten side-by-side, I think I could have made something happen, but they were selfless toward each other.”
A caution on the final lap preempted what might have been a different finish—though Logano didn’t think the outcome would have changed.
“I really think, even if it was green all the way to the end, it would have looked exactly the same,” Logano said. “There were no runs building and no momentum going. It’s a tough spot to be in.
“You think you are in a good spot, and anytime you can take the front row on a final restart you will take it, especially here at Talladega. But it’s tough when the numbers are stacked against you a little bit. The team did a good job, though, and our Mustang was really fast, and that’s what we have to be proud of.”