NASCAR crash sends Joey Logano for a wild ride at Talladega Superspeedway; He blames the rules package
On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series returned to the 2.66-mile oval of Talladega Superspeedway. Toward the end of stage one, things were looking wild at the front of the pack.
Denny Hamlin was locked onto the bumper of Joey Logano. Behind them, Chris Buescher was locked onto the bumper of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
As Logano caught the car of Ryan Blaney, he was forced to lift. At the same time, Hamlin lifted. Ricky Stenhouse Jr then pushed on the bumper of Hamlin as Buescher was pushing on Stenhouse Jr.
At the front of the line, Logano was checking up. But, Chirs Buescher, the car at the back of the line was unaware of that as he continued to push.
As Logano pushed Blaney to the bumper of race leader Matt DiBenedetto, they needed to checkup for a second time. However, the accordion pushed Hamlin and Logano out of alignment.
Hamlin was now being shoved into the left rear of Logano. Hamlin got turned in the process, sending him into the left rear quarter panel of Logano. It’s straightened Hamlin’s machine.
Meanwhile, Logano was now on a ride. The car was turned around backwards in front of the field. With his spoiler turned to the air, it lifted the rear end off the ground.
Logano did a backflip at 200mph. As he was upside down, Bubba Wallace narrowly escaped. Logano landed on the roof of Wallace, scratching off a roof decal in the process.
Drivers were racing hard to the end of the stage. A valuable playoff point was on the line..
“That felt like we were racing at the end of the race,” Chase Elliott said over the radio following the aggressive end to the stage.
Brad Keselowski comments on the Talladega package
Ahead of the race, Roger Penske called a team meeting to keep his cars from crashing each other. That’s not what happened in this case but he nearly lost multiple cars in a single crash.
Instead, Keselowski’s team repaired the minimal damage. He then drove it to victory lane.
“No doubt we got to find a way to keep cars on the ground,” Keselowski said after the win.
“I don’t care what the rules package is. We start there. Can’t have cars leaving the ground.”
“We’re pretty good drivers, but none of that stuff works when we’re in the air. The gas pedal, brake pedal, steering wheel, shifter. We’re not rudders. When that thing gets in the air, it lands where it wants to. What goes up must come down.”
He concluded, “It’s not a jet-propelled airplane. We have no way to control where it comes down, so we absolutely have to find a way to keep them from coming off the ground.”
Joey Logano comments after the Talladega crash
Several cars picked up damage. However, Logano was the only car that was taken out in the crash.
“I don’t really know exactly what to think. It’s a product of this racing,” Logano told FOX after the tumble.
“On one hand, I’m so proud to drive a Cup car that is safe. Where I can go through a crash like that and speak about it. On one hand, I’m mad about being in the crash. The other hand, I’m happy that I’m alive.”
“On the other hand, I’m thinking, ‘When are we going to stop.’ Because this is dangerous doing what we’re doing. I got a rollbar in my head.”
“That’s not ok. I’m one hand away from the same situation Ryan Newman went through.”
“I just don’t feel like that’s acceptable. These big spoilers, the big runs, pushing and all that. It’s no one’s fault. Denny’s trying to go and the No. 47’s trying to go. It’s a product of this racing.”
“We have to fix it though because someone already got hurt and we’re still doing it. So, that’s not really smart.”
“I got lucky that I didn’t get hit while I was in the air,” Logano concluded.
In 2018, the rear spoiler of a NASCAR Cup Series machine sat at just 2.375 inches. In 2019, the spoiler was drastically increased for every track with the exception of tracks under a mile in length. The spoiler at Talladega Superspeedway sits at 9 inches.
The large spoiler is designed to keep cars in a pack. That’s specifically the case for the 1.5-mile speedway tracks. However, it’s further heightened the pack racing on superspeedway tracks.