For the first part of Sunday’s race at Texas, the first in NASCAR’s Round of 8, the Playoff drivers had mostly uneventful run as did much of the field, except for those involved in a 15-car crash on lap 32 which all the Playoff drivers were able to avoid.
The final stage of the race however proved to be tragic for a couple of those drivers.
The first to fall was Joey Logano who had an engine expire in his Ford on lap 298 while running inside the top 10. He was the first Playoff driver sent to the garage and scored with a DNF in 30th.
“I thought it was starting to maybe give up a little bit of power in that run,” Logano said. “We were just getting passed. Not really though. It just kind of let go. It is one of those days when nothing went right. The strategy didn’t go the way we wanted it to early in the race. Cautions didn’t fall the way we hoped they would and every time we started fighting our way back something happened, and we ended up like this.”
The on lap 321 Martin Truex Jr. made contact with Daniel Suarez coming out of Turn 3. Truex’s Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was sent hard into the outside wall between Turns 3 and 4, and he also finished with a DN in 25th.
To add insult to the injuries for Logan and Truex, neither ran well enough at the right times to score any Stage points.
Chase Elliott’s day started on a bad note. His Hendrick Motorsports Chevy failed pre-race inspection twice and he was forced to start from the rear of the field. Elliott charged forward and was up to fifth by lap 51. He did manage to finish eighth in Stage 1 but had to pit under green on lap 154 with a vibration. While it was a good call, as his crew found a right front tire going down, Elliott could only manage to rally back for a seventh-place finish.
“I thought by the end, we were decent,” Elliott said. “Just by that point, obviously, it was too late. I had another one vibrate again after that, so I’m not really sure what we had going on there. I’m still currently confused. So, we’ll see.”
Elliott leaves Texas 8 points below the cutoff.
“Yeah, there you go,” he said. “I feel like if we just go do our job these next two weeks and control what’s in our hands, we’ll be alright.”
Logano however is 8th, 43 markers behind cutoff.
“We have to move on,” Logano said. “It is what it is now. We can’t change it. Not many points today, so that is a bummer. We will be fighting from here.”
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