Martinsville NASCAR: Logano wins after last-corner Truex collision

Penske’s Joey Logano booked his place in the NASCAR Cup title decider by sealing Martinsville victory in a last-corner collision with Martin Truex Jr.

Reigning champion Truex of Furniture Row Racing had passed long-time leader Logano to lead with two laps to go.

But Logano tapped the rear bumper of Truex’s Toyota and elbowed his way alongside going into the race’s final two turns.

This put Truex into a slide that allowed Logano and runner-up Denny Hamlin to pip Truex to the finishing line – Hamlin’s run nearly allowing him to beat Logano too as the Ford fishtailed past the chequered flag following the contact.

Winning the first of the three ’round of eight’ playoff races means Logano is the first driver to guarantee going to the Homestead season-closing showdown with a title chance.

Truex had made rapid progress from starting the race in 33rd place after failing post-qualifying inspection.

He was within the top 10 by the end of the first stage and was fighting at the front by early in stage three.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Hamlin had been a contender throughout in his Toyota and came on strong towards the end of stints.

This allowed him to win the first stage then late in stage two he closed in on Logano – who had led all of that section of the race.

The pair finished the segment side-by-side but with Logano just ahead.

Hamlin’s points-leading team-mate Kyle Busch finished the race in fourth place ahead of Logano’s Penske team-mate Brad Keselowski, who was another to start at the rear after his Ford underwent unapproved adjustments after qualifying.

Kurt Busch, one of four Stewart-Haas Racing drivers in playoff contention, finished sixth ahead of recent form man Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports, who was more subdued this time in finishing seventh in his Chevrolet

Kevin Harvick did not show the strong pace he had in recent rounds, as he finished 10th behind Ryan Newman and Daniel Suarez.

Of the remaining playoff contenders, Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing finished 11th while his team-mate Clint Bowyer was a lapped 21st after an eventful run that included in the last 50 laps being tapped into a spin by Jimmie Johnson.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps
1 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 500
2 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 500
3 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota 500
4 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 500
5 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 500
6 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 500
7 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 500
8 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 500
9 Daniel Suarez Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 500
10 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 500
11 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 500
12 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 500
13 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 500
14 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 500
15 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 500
16 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 500
17 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 500
18 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 500
19 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 500
20 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 500
21 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 499
22 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 499
23 Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Racing Ford 499
24 Cole Whitt TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet 498
25 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 497
26 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 494
27 D.J. Kennington Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota 493
28 Regan Smith Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 492
29 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 492
30 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 491
31 J.J. Yeley BK Racing Toyota 491
32 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 490
33 Jeb Burton Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 489
34 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 488
35 Joey Gase StarCom Racing Chevrolet 467
36 Matt DiBenedetto Go FAS Racing Ford 451
37 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 393
38 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota 368
39 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 364
40 Hermie Sadler Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 230

Playoff standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 4104
2 Martin Truex Jr. 4083
3 Kevin Harvick 4083
4 Joey Logano 4074
5 Kurt Busch 4058
6 Chase Elliott 4052
7 Clint Bowyer 4041
8 Aric Almirola 4033

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