NASCAR at Talladega 2016 Results: Winner, Standings, Highlights and Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2016

TALLADEGA, AL - OCTOBER 23:  Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hellmann's 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 23, 2016 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Joey Logano picked up his second win of the year and sealed passage to NASCAR's Round of 8 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup with a first-place finish in the Hellmann's 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday.

Logano started slowly, sitting well off the leaders for the first half of the race. Then, beginning on Lap 100, he steadily climbed up the leaderboard. Upon overtaking Kyle Busch for first place on Lap 147, he didn't lose the lead over the remainder of the day.

Talladega Superspeedway shared his post-race celebration:

Talladega Superspeedway @TalladegaSuperS

REPEAT. @joeylogano takes home the #Hellmanns500 🏁 for back-to-back Fall Talladega victories! #TheChase https://t.co/kTKsci1fjc

Brian Scott, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top five:

Hellmann's 500 Results: Top 10
Pos.DriverTime Behind (Seconds)Laps Led
1Joey Logano-----45
2Brian Scott0.1240
3Denny Hamlin0.25811
4Kurt Busch0.2640
5Ricky Stenhouse Jr.0.4226
6Kyle Larson0.4270
7Kevin Harvick0.4660
8Aric Almirola0.4950
9Austin Dillon0.5231
10A.J. Allmendinger0.5280
Source: Fox Sports

Alex Bowman spun into the infield on Lap 186 to set up the overtime period. When the green flag dropped to resume the race, Logano, Scott and Kevin Harvick sat in first, second and third.

Logano had a strong restart and consolidated his lead, settling into a comfortable position ahead of Scott. From there, the No. 22 car displayed excellent defensive driving, reacting to Scott and cutting off each of his attempted passes.

NBCSN provided a replay of the overtime laps leading up to Logano's win:


.@JoeyLogano takes the win at Talladega #TheChase https://t.co/ccVRM66SQH

The 26-year-old came a long way in the span of a few hours. It looked like he was destined for a rough Sunday when a jack got stuck under his car and was dragged across the track, via NASCAR on NBC:


Joey 'The Jackman' Logano. Think it will 'stick' @joeylogano? #TheChase https://t.co/lKoR8Pw0Cx

Bigger than Logano's win are the Chase consequences from the Hellmann's 500. Four drivers are no longer in the hunt for the title:

Chase for the Sprint Cup Grid
1Joey Logano4,0002
2Jimmie Johnson4,0003
3Kevin Harvick4,0004
4Matt Kenseth4,0002
5Carl Edwards4,0002
6Denny Hamlin4,0003
7Kurt Busch4,0001
8Kyle Busch4,0004
EliminatedMartin Truex Jr.2,1914
EliminatedBrad Keselowski2,1684
EliminatedAustin Dillon2,1630
EliminatedChase Elliott2,1560
Source: ESPN.com

With the stakes high Sunday, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr., who each earned four wins in 2016, picked the worst time to have car trouble. Neither driver finished the race, and both saw their hopes of advancing to the Round of 8 evaporate.

ESPN's Marty Smith thought the remaining field benefited in a big way:

Marty Smith @MartySmithESPN

The title contenders have a much easier road now, with Truex and Keselowski gone.

Truex finished in last place after making it through 41 laps. Shortly after his exit, he spoke on NBCSN about his disappointment:


"Definitely not the way we wanted today to go. It's a tough way to go out." https://t.co/nQK4eDk2VP

Engine trouble also claimed the No. 2 car after 144 laps. NASCAR on NBC shared a look at the car heading back to the garage:


Smoke coming from the No. 2 of @keselowski, who's already back in the garage. #TheChase #Hellmanns500 https://t.co/QS6xGYUhvY

Like Truex, Keselowski remained circumspect:

Brad Keselowski @keselowski

Yep. Just trying to keep in mind how fortunate we are to have great teams to be fast and win. https://t.co/pVED1EtDkJ

Sunday will offer more ammunition for the critics of the Chase format. Keselowski and Truex were two of the strongest drivers throughout the season, and engine problems in one race undid all of that work.

The Chase structure creates plenty of drama late in the year, but the Hellmann's 500 illustrated that luck can be an outsized factor in determining the last driver standing.

Three more races stand between the final eight and the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida, on Nov. 20.

The Round of 8 will kick off next week at the Goody's Fast Relief 500.

Logano knows Sunday's checkered flag won't provide any guarantees. Nearly a year ago to the day, he wrapped up his third straight win in the month of October. The next week, Matt Kenseth wrecked him at Martinsville Speedway, which irreparably damaged Logano's chances of staying in title contention.

For Logano and the rest of the Chase field, the smallest mistake can carry significant consequences over the next three races.

Post-Race Reaction

"I was able to stay on the bottom and try to run the bottom and keep everyone in line, and that worked out really well," Logano said of the end of the race, according to FoxSports.com's Joe Menzer. "Kevin did a good job with that, which ultimately got us all a great finish."

"Feels good to win on a clutch moment like that with the pressure on," he said of the win, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "I think we ran like a champ."

Chase Elliott has exceeded expectations in his rookie season. Despite that, failing to advance to the round of eight in the Chase was a bitter pill to swallow.

"We just tried to be as aggressive as we could, tried to make stuff happen," Elliott said, per USA Today. "Disappointed we came up short. We've had some awesome race cars in the Chase. It's just unfortunate."


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