Four more drivers knocked out of NASCAR title fight

Weekend racing wrap

Posted on

| Written by

NASCAR’s carefully-managed championship conclusion saw four more drivers eliminated from the running, leaving eight in contention over the final four races.

Four more drivers will be eliminated in three races’ time, leaving four in contention for the title at the final round.


Race 32 of 36: Talladega Superspeedway

The second race of the year at Talladega Superspeedway went into a tense overtime period. In a race with 31 lead changes and 6 cautions, the lead was initially contested by Martin Truex Jnr from pole, with Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott also in the mix.

After cameos from Greg Biffle and Michael Annett, the original leaders were replaced by Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney out front, though both Harvick and Blaney dropped from the sharp end later on. Logano eventually took the win despite completing a lap with a jack under his car (above) following a mistake at an early pit stop.

Brian Scott took by far his best result to date by finishing second ahead of and Denny Hamlin, who was in the mix throughout the entire race. Hamlin therefore became one of the eight drivers to progress to the final round of the championship, along with Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards.

Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott were among those eliminated along with Austin Dillon, the latter losing his place on a tie-break after drawing on points with Hamlin. But perhaps the most unfortunate of the four to drop out was Truex, a four-time winner this year, who paid a high price for suffering an engine failure during the latter stages of the championship.

V8 Supercars

Races 22 to 23 of 29: Surfers Paradise

Shane van Gisbergen edged closer to a maiden V8 Supercars title as he and Alexandre Premat scored a win and a second in the two races at Surfers Paradise, however team mate and closest rival Jamie Whincup limited the damage with third and a win in the second race – both shared with Paul Dumbrell.

Race one very nearly ended under a Safety Car after a huge accident on lap 96 of the 102 scheduled between Garth Tander and Fabian Coulthard which saw the latter crash heavily into the pit wall.

Guest Series: European Le Mans Series

Race 6 of 6: Portugal

The European Le Mans Series crowned its new champions in a dramatic finale at Estoril. The G-Drive Gibson of Giedo van der Garde, Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell took race victory to win the LMP2 championship, but only after leaders into the final weekend, Thiriet by TDS Racing with Pierre Thiriet, Mathias Beche and Ryo Hirakawa hit problems.

The Yvan Muller-run LMP3 of Thomas Laurent, Yann Erlacher and Alexandre Cougnaud won their first race in LMP3, and GTE honours along with the championship were taken by Beechdean AMR with Alex MacDowall, Andrew Howard and Darren Turner.

Guest Series: Formula Ford Festival

Brands Hatch

Niall Murray became only the third driver in Formula Ford history to win the festival twice after jumping pole sitter Scott Malvern early on in the race and sprinting away from his rivals to win by almost four seconds ahead of Malvern with Chris Middlehurst. Middlehurst enjoyed a battle with Oliver Askew for the final podium position until Askew was forced into retirement with a mechanical failure.

Also last weekend

Vandoorne’s final Super Formula race is this weekend
Lewis Hamilton took victory in the United States Grand Prix ahead of team mate Nico Rosberg, therefore trimming the latter’s championship lead, with Daniel Ricciardo completing the podium.

Cal Crutchlow claimed his second Moto GP victory after champion Marc Marquez fell from the lead on lap nine at Phillip Island – ironically at Honda corner. Mixed conditions in qualifying left a jumbled grid that saw both factory Yamahas starting outside the top ten, yet Valentino Rossi recovered from fifteenth to finish second while Maverick Vinales took another podium for Suzuki charging from thirteenth to third.

Over to you

Next weekend Formula One heads to Mexico while the Super Formula championship wraps up at Suzuka. A close championship battle in Formula V8 3.5 continues at the penultimate round of the season in Jerez, while it’s also the penultimate round for the World Rally Championship as they head to Wales for Rally of Great Britain, while NASCAR rolls on as the Round of Eight begins in the Chase for the Cup.

Thanks to Robert Mathershaw (@Mathers) for contributing to this article.

Weekend Racing Wrap

Browse all Weekend Racing Wraps

10 comments on “Four more drivers knocked out of NASCAR title fight”

  1. So, can someone explain to me how Logano was able to drive around with the jack under the car, and not be penalized into non competitiveness? Does not add up to me, or I’m just used to FIA draconian rule.

    1. @careypatrick He was penalized, but he was able to serve the penalty on the very next lap (NASCAR is very quick at issuing penalties). The jack was removed from under the car during the penalty and that was legal because the car wasn’t serviced during the pit-stop since no new tires were put, no fuel was added, and no set-up changes made. Also, Talladega has a pit-road speed limit of 55 mph, which is one of the quickest of the season, meaning time lost on pit road is lesser than other tracks.

      Lastly, anything can happen and anyone can win at Talladega.

      1. Thanks for that. i didn’t get to watch any of this race, or highlights. Too busy with USGP and MOTOGP.

    2. It the way things played out. He received a stop and penalty for that. But since Talladega is so big, it is possible to get on and off pit road during a normal pit stop without losing a lap. Add to that the caution coming less then 5 laps later, it was easy or him to catch right back up to he field. The nature of the racing allowed to him to climb back through the field. Had this happen at any other track, like this weekend at Martinsville and he would have been penalized into non-competitiveness.

      1. Meant a Stop and Go penalty.

      2. Thank you. I definitely wasn’t factoring in the Talledega Factor.

  2. I still think the whole chase system that NASCAR uses is the most ridiculous championship system in all of MotorSport.

    The champion should be the person that scores the most points over a full season of races & not who scores the most points over a handful of races at the end after the points for a select number of drivers are reset & other drivers effectively eliminated from that points chase.

    It’s just a contrived, stupid & gimmickey system imo.

    1. While I agree with you @gt-racer, we can consider that pre-Bernie, not all F1 races counted for the championship, and even then, not all championship races counted for a championship (dropped points rule).

      The chase system has also allowed a driver to win the championship after missing races with injury (Kyle Busch), perhaps in a similar manner to F1 having a posthumous champion (Rindt), or Clark skipping Monaco to race in the Indy 500.

      1. @fastiesty in my mind the fact that a driver that didn’t compete in all the races was able to beat those that did highlights everything that is wrong with the chase format.

        nascar is not a true championship any longer and its champion under this chase format is not as deserving a champion as drivers in other categories who are crowned based on a full season points total.

        @georgeod if a driver or team is good enough over a year and wins the championship before the final races then so what, they did a better job than others & the others should have to regroup over the winter and come back stronger the next year. artificially extending the championship to ensure it goes to the final race every year is utter nonsence and not worthy of been called a sport.

        if the chase format was so great and artificially guaranteeing it goes to the final race then why is nascar haemorrhaging fans? why has it been declining in popularity pretty much since year 1 of the case format?

        i myself used to love nascar through the 80s/90s & early 2000’s. but as its got more & more artificial & thrown more & more gimmicks into the mix i’ve turned off & white it didn’t start with the chase (came in in 2004 did it not?) it was the final nail in nascar’s coffin for me & a lot of my friends/family who all used to attend nascar races & all used to be big fans.

        if nascar wants to regain its popularity & win back fans such as myself it needs to become a sport again & get rid of artificial & gimmickey rules like the case, restrictor plate races, green-white-checker, phantom cautions & this absolubely ridiculous 20 minute caution timer thing it introduced in the truck category.

    2. I used to agree whole hearted with you @gt-racer but now I’m not so sure. I’m not against the Chase in principle, but I don’t enjoy the elimination format used in the past few seasons. Truex and Keselowski have had great seasons and it’s really unfortunate that they have some less than perfect races (out of the last three) but their stellar years count for nothing.

      However when the season is so long, there is a big chance that the title will be decided before the final race and will not be entertaining. I think a 10 race shootout is still a fair way of deciding the title. If a driver is strong in the first 26 races then they will likely be strong in the final 10. Of course, it doesn’t mean they will but there is a good chance. I believe this is a price worth paying.

Comments are closed.