NASCAR‘s round of 12 ended Sunday at Talladega with Joey Logano winning in dramatic fashion, holding off many hungry patrons behind him and in front of a huge crowd in the grandstands. The race featured a Team Penske domination with many championship contenders having issues. Six time Talladega winner Dale Earnhardt Jr helped call the middle stages of the race, much to the delight of his fans.
In the late stages of the race, it was clear that Logano had the race in hand and Chase Elliott would need a win to advance into the round of 12. Denny Hamlin and Austin Dillon would battle for the final playoff spot all the way down to the wire, with Hamlin getting the better of him in a tiebreaker. Even after the checkered flag, the fireworks continued between Stewart-Hass Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch.
With all these storylines to talk about, people were talking about the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates of Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and Matt Kenseth riding in the back most of the race. It was clear at the conclusion of the race this was a strategy move to get themselves into the next round of the Chase. Many fans were upset that this happened and called for the sanctioning body to do something about it.
The sport as a whole has gained some of its momentum back in 2016 that had been lost in previous years, but negative storylines continue to hold them back, in a lot of people’s eyes. Spectators throughout the sport have seemed to have an issue with Toyotas dominance this season and most of 2015. The word “cheaters” has hung over the JGR drivers all season, because they have been busted for pre and post race inspection issues.
It’s a healthy debate on whether Joe Gibbs Racing was in the wrong for their strategy moves Sunday, but one thing is for certain, it hung another black cloud over NASCAR’s playoff.