Race Weekend Central

The Agony of Defeat for Joey Logano: ‘This Hurts’

10 laps is all that separated Joey Logano from his first Sprint Cup championship. One move to the inside on a restart gave him the inside track on that title.

One accident, seconds later left him and championship contender Carl Edwards pondering what might have been.

Logano, restarting third, made a move on Edwards, who forced the No. 22 all the way down the racetrack. Both men run out of room and made contact, ultimately ending the No. 19 team’s chances as he spun into the inside barricade.

For a moment, it looked like the No. 22 car still had a shot. Todd Gordon called Logano to pit road after receiving damage to the right front fender. Putting on fresh rubber, the crew pulled the fender away from the tire and on the restart he charged from eighth to third, passing championship eligible driver Kyle Busch before Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. spun to the inside wall.

That caused NASCAR Overtime, leaving Logano just one row from Jimmie Johnson. But on the restart, the No. 48 car took off, outlasting Logano to win the Sprint Cup a record-tying seventh time.

“It sucks being that close to the championship and then not getting it,” Logano said post-race. “The last restart, I was hoping to get Jimmie, I just timed it a little bit wrong. I hit him right at the start/finish line, but didn’t get the chance to get underneath him, I lost some time there. The championship means so much and nobody cares about second place.”

Finishing fourth in the race, second in the championship improved on Logano’s effort from his championship race in 2014 when he finished last out of the Championship 4. But it’s clear the outcome could have been much better if not for the contact that ruined his chance to pass the No. 19 clean.

Looking back on the restart with Edwards, Logano claimed he wouldn’t have changed a thing.

“I made the move earlier in the race on a couple other cars,” he said. “I had to do it because it’s the championship. I had a run and it was my opportunity to go to the bottom and get him. He has to defend his spot, I don’t blame him and unfortunately we lost a bunch of spots. We ultimately probably cost each other’s championships. It is what it is.”

Logano admitted that following the incident with Edwards, he wouldn’t have made the call to pit and take on four fresh tires. Normally, the stickers wouldn’t have benefited the No. 22 team even at a track that wears tires as much as Homestead-Miami Speedway, but he was determined to get back track position.

On the restart, Logano gained five spots in a half-lap with the sticker tires. Crew chief Todd Gordon wanted to give his driver a shot and thought the right decision was to pit.

“If you give that kid get an opportunity with a late-race restart, that kid gets it done,” Gordon said. “He is a phenomenal talent and he’s a closer. As we’ve done all along, we play offense. We put him in a position where he can make moves. We had some damage and I think the red flag did help to understand what damage we have. We weren’t going to win the race from ninth and we wanted to win.”

Ultimately, winning the championship included winning the race for third straight year that this Chase format has been in play. Logano led six laps on Sunday, but didn’t get to the pinnacle of NASCAR, the Cup Series title.

Carl Edwards experienced heartbreak yet again in Miami. (Photo: Zach Catanzareti)
Carl Edwards experienced heartbreak yet again in Miami. (Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

Though he believes the incident with Edwards cost him the chance at the title, Gordon and he earned respect for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver for taking blame for the incident.

During the 31-minute red flag, Edwards walked from his wrecked vehicle to the No. 22 pit box to talk to Gordon.

“That’s a stand-up, hard-nosed racer,” Gordon said of Edwards. “He came up, shook my hand and said ‘that’s hard racing, I didn’t realize he was that far inside of me.’ That’s just a stand up guy. I don’t think there are many guys that would do that. ”

“Carl is a hard racer and he knows what we are racing for,” Logano said. “I would like to talk to him personally because I think it’s cool that he understands it hurt both of us. It wasn’t like I was trying to spin him out, I was underneath him and he chased me down the racetrack.”

Ending his season in disappointment, Logano recorded three victories in 2016, 16 top-5 finishes and 26 top 10s, leading 703 laps. It marks the third straight season that he won at least two races during the 10-week Chase.

About the author

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Dustin joined the Frontstretch team at the beginning of the 2016 season. 2020 marks his sixth full-time season covering the sport that he grew up loving. His dream was to one day be a NASCAR journalist, thus why he attended Ithaca College (Class of 2018) to earn a journalism degree. Since the ripe age of four, he knew he wanted to be a storyteller.

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Tis’ what it is. I don’t think it was in the cards for Logano or Eddie Haskell anyway. Their “story lines” were (in NASCARS eyes) a drop in the excitement bucket compared to the mileage of a watered down 7 Time. Repeating often will not make it comparable or equal, but NASCAR WILL KEEP IT UP! LOL. The Gibbs boys and spotters better take some “summer school classes on “clearance” this break, for the 2017 season. And Jesus H. Christmas, leave it to Stinkhouse to really muck it up.

Biff Baynehouse

Facts check – #32 majorly & #17 minor-ly “mucked” it up! Soo rethorical questions of course, but, if not for #32-Lupton [Ford btw] caution on lap 252, does the #19-Edwards drive off into the sunset with the Cup. Was a caution truly necessary for #32’s OR #17’s incidents? Who the hell is Lupton anyway? Why do we opt for a format that balances the Cup championship across HIS hood? But, we are in a “chase” era, so there you go!


Sorry Biff, didn’t read your whole rant, but I stand by my statement that Stinkhouse regardless that he drives a Ford mucks things up as well as any back marker in the “playoffs” with non Chase “teams” involved in the evolution of the outcome in a negative impactful way. Common sense.

Biff Baynehouse

If not for #32-Lupton [Ford btw] caution on lap 352, does the #19-Edwards drive off into the sunset with they Cup? Was a caution truly necessary for that #32 incident? Malfeasance aside, on the lap 258 restart, would a competitor who is P8 in a “classic” points standings [#19-Edwards], intentionally drive across the nose of a car on a late race restart in the last race of the season. I tend to think this would have NEVER occurred under a “classic” format, & that the “chase” gimmick promotes it. More importantly, who the h*ll is Lupton & why does Nascar opt to balanced a championships across the hood of a consummate back-marker & minimalist part-timer like this? But, we are in a “chase” era, so as vigorously promoted easily foreseeable …there you go! The big one occurs on the Lupton caution restart, on lap 258, with 10 to go, &, essentially, hands the lead over to the #48, who was P8 prior to the Lupton caution. Then, after the red flag, the #17-Stenhouse, on lap 264, caused another caution. All of these are organic to deciding a RACE, but hinging the season’s driver’s championship on typical race circumstances is ethically & integrally devaluing to the championship & the brand as a whole.
Similarly, as with the NXS race (#20-Jones & #7-Allgaier), all to frequently contenders have their championships bids catastrophically affected through absolutely nothing what-so-ever related to their team or driver skill, performance or determination. Furthermore, malfeasance could & frequently does trumps everything. As with the Martinsville Cup race in ’15 &, in effect, this Cup race in Miami. The faster contenders can, & do, simply get intentionally wrecked by slower compromised contenders &/or non-contenders who, by way of a “classic” format, have absolutely NO business what-so-ever competing for the driver’s championship.
The driver’s championship should NEVER NEVER NEVER be boil down to these 10 lap or 3 lap or whatever shoot outs! This Cup race, as well as the NXS race, PROVES it! The two motorsports terms “green-white-checkered” & “season’s driver’s championship” could not have more diametrically opposed definitions. To combine the two, out of fiscal desperation, reduces these Nascars categories to absolute farcical mockeries of the sporting World!
When you decide a motorsports championships in a “classic” manner, all the circumstances of individual races are averaged out over the course of each race in the season, which is the only way a proper & integral motorsports driver’s championships can be decided. When you decide them under the systemic farcical of a gimmick format, like the one Nascar has devised, that invariably culminates in a one race finale, if not a “shoot-out” or GWC finish, you have a very strong likelihood of deciding the driver’s championship almost entirely independent of driving skill. And that, to me, epitomizes the counter-intuitiveness of this championship format. It more resembles picking names out of a hat, drawing straws or a lottery. You might as well assemble all of the crews members of ALL 30 or 40-some teams in a darkened gymnasium (to include the entire pit crews and every fabricator, CNC tech & engineer in various shops all around the world) & play DODGE BALL IN THE DARK to decide your championships! Because everything every team member does, from the weeks long preparation up until the checkers fly at the championship event, is of critical & unyielding championship deciding importance. And EVERY entrant in the race can & does have undeniable, critical & catastrophic impact on deciding who the champion is. Under the guise of this one race gimmick format, one loose tire rolling across pit road, one gas can hung up on a car leaving a pit box, or, as it were in the Miami NXS race, one consummate non-contender or back-marker making a perfectly legitimate race strategy call by NOT pitting in advance of a GWC or literally ANY OF AN INFINATE NUMBER of foreseeable, normal, strange &/or wild freak circumstances that are wholly unrelated to ANYTHING under the contending driver’s guise can, & do, elevate perfectly legitimate tough-luck race circumstances that “normally” have only a minor impact on “classic” formats, to having utterly critical championship deciding consequences.
The “chase” is interesting. That, I will never not deny. But that is to say each & every “normal” race is NOT exciting! And that’s to say the 60, or so, Nascar Cup Driver’s Championship before the advent of the “chase” were NOT exciting! These thought processes are counter-intuitive, if not abominable! A “shoot-out champion” is definitively NOT a “season’s driver’s champion”! The latter has not been offered up by Nascar since ’03!
The “classis” driver’s championship should remain in tact, be scored & valid thru the entire season & rewarded as such in a “classic” method. If Nascar feels the need to run something like a “chase” simultaneously, along side the “classic” championship, I am all for it. But, when they obliterated the “classic” format & attempted to replace it by implementing this “chase” “shoot-out king” gimmick, from day one I felt as though I had been cheated of integral & definitive Driver’s Championship. I feel cheated of what once was the epitome of Global Motorsports Championships. Until the “classic” format is reinstated, I will always feel that way.

Don in Ct

It just gets dumber and dumber every year; kind of like Brain. (Sic)

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