Team Penske’s Joey Logano stormed into the semifinal round of the 2016 Chase on Sunday with another victory at Talladega Superspeedway. He put the Number-22 Ford in front for good late in the race and kept it there over the final forty-five laps to notch his sixteenth career victory and second this season. Logano also won last fall’s race on the sprawling two-point-six-six-mile Alabama oval and is just the second driver in fourteen years with back-to-back victories in this event. Clint Bowyer is the last one to do it, in 2010 and 2011. Richard Petty Motorsports rookie Brian Scott challenged Logano down the stretch but fell twelve one-hundredths of a second short at the checkered flag. Denny Hamlin finished third to lead a parade of four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers into the Round of Eight. Kurt Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Junior completed the top five. Pole sitter Martin Truex Junior led only two laps before retiring with engine failure midway through the first half of the race. His fortieth-place finish eliminated Truex from the post-season Chase. He’s joined on the sidelines by Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski – who also was knocked out by engine failure on Sunday, after leading a race-high ninety laps. Dillon finished the Round of Twelve tied with Hamlin for the eighth and final transfer spot but lost the tiebreaker, based on a driver’s best finish in the current round of the post-season. Dillon’s was sixth last weekend at Kansas Speedway, Hamlin’s was third on Sunday … Yesterday’s race went four laps past its scheduled distance because of a late caution for Alex Bowman’s spin.
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Chip Ganassi Racing’s Number-42 Sprint Cup Series team has been penalized for the second week in a row, following Kyle Larson’s third-place finish Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. Last week, crew chief Chad Johnston drew a one-race suspension after it was discovered during post-race inspection at Pocono that all the lug nuts on Larson’s Chevrolet were not properly tightened. On Wednesday, interim crew chief Philip Surgen was fined twenty-five thousand dollars after Larson’s car failed post-race inspection at M-I-S. The team was also docked fifteen driver and owner championship points.
In the Camping World Truck Series, Red Horse Racing crew chief Scott Zipadelli has been suspended for one race, fined five thousand dollars and placed on probation through December 31st. Following German (air-MONN) Quiroga Junior’s eighth-place finish last weekend in Texas, it was determined that all the lug nuts on his Number-11 Toyota were not properly tightened.
And in the X-FINITY Series, Team Penske crew chief Brian Wilson has been fined seventy-five hundred dollars and the Number-22 team was docked ten championship points. Joey Logano’s Ford failed post-race inspection at Michigan following his sixth-place finish in the Menards 250.
In addition to the Ganassi penalties after the Michigan race, sixteen Sprint Cup teams – more than one-third of all entries were issued written warnings for various infractions.
The list of drivers whose teams violated NASCAR rules includes Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Junior … and Stewart- Haas Racing’s Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart.
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