LOUDON, N.H. Those wild scenarios that could play out in NASCAR’s new winner-take-all championship season finale?
Joey Logano got a taste Sunday.
Logano was running second on Lap 212 of a scheduled 301 laps in the Camping World 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when Morgan Shepherd wrecked him and brought a crashing halt to his day.
Shepherd, 72, was running 14 laps down at the time and far off the race pace but still meeting NASCAR’s minimum speed requirement.
Needless to say, Logano was not pleased.
“I got taken out by the slowest car out there. You would think there would be some courtesy to the leaders. We were in second place,” a frustrated Logano said in the garage.
“He gets out of the way on the straightaway and then goes into the corner and slides right up into the lane I was in. Whatever.”
Under the new Chase format, four drivers will compete in the season finale at Homestead, Fla., with the winner named the series champion.
Unfortunate incidents like the one during Sunday’s race are a very real possibility.
“It is just dumb that it happened. I feel like that should be stuff that shouldn’t happen at this level of racing,” Logano, 24, said.
NASCAR’s vice president of competition, Robin Pemberton, said Shepherd’s car met minimum speed and that he had not been made aware of any issues with Shepherd during the race prior to the incident.
Several drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart, complained about Shepherd’s car during the race.
“It’s an accident. Those things happen,” Pemberton said. “It could happen to anybody, to any competitor.”
Asked by reporters if he should be on the track, Shepherd said, “Was I the only wreck out there? That answers your question.”
Logano’s team owner, Roger Penske, said his driver needed to put the incident behind him.
“Obviously he was not doing anything out there that he expected to have someone in an accident with him,” Penske said of Shepherd. “I told Joey, ‘Look, you can’t go back and fix it.’ ”
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