‘Dega! It’s legendary for a reason, and much of that reason is the insanity of restrictor plate racing. Everyone’s as aggressive as possible to finish well at one of NASCAR’s most famous tracks, which often leads to chaos. Bonus: after a last-lap review, today’s winner wasn’t who everyone thought it would be.
Today’s Xfinity Series race ended with two restarts. The first of the final two restarts happened with five laps to go in the race. Brennan Poole was in front and expressed some concern about his fuel load. Joey Logano was right behind him after having fought his way back to the front.
Logano was pulled by NASCAR officials earlier on lap 87 to fix a broken roof rail—a safety device NASCAR has on these cars to keep them planted in a spin. When Logano went in to have that fixed, he also had his crew install four new tires, which he used to claw his way back up to the front. That worked!
Once the race was restarted, Logano was out in front, with a little drafting help from Elliot Sadler immediately behind him. Meanwhile, Brennan Poole was gunning for the lead next to him, with some drafting help from Austin Dillon on his back bumper.
Sadler tried once to get around Logano with four laps to go. No dice. Then the No. 43 car of Jeb Burton gets loose and into the side of Erik Jones’ car, triggering one last yellow flag with three laps to go. Because there were so few laps left, this meant the Talladega race would go into overtime.
Poor Poole had already been worried about his fuel levels heading into the last restart. Now he had even more to worry about, as it’s harder to keep fuel going to its pickup under a caution when it gets super-low. To that note, Brendan Gaughan reported low fuel pressure further back in the pack.
When the overtime restart went green, Joey Logano was up front battling with Sadler for the lead, but ultimately lost control, made contact with Elliot Sadler and spun out. Logano’s out of control car ended up being a race-ending crash at Talladega. Logano’s car was collected by the No. 11 of Blake Koch, getting some painful-looking air time in the process. Fortunately, both Koch and Logano were able to walk away from the crash.
Chaos! Talladega in a nutshell, folks.
Because there was so little time left in this overtime restart, Brennan Poole ended the race with a .0026 second-lead at the finish line, but the race result was immediately under review. “Oh God, I think I’m going to puke,” said a nervous Poole after he crossed the finish line.
Because of the review, NASCAR wouldn’t even hand over the flag for him to celebrate just yet.
Unfortunately for Poole, who would have had his first-ever Xfinity Series win in his rookie year in the series, an overtime finish is determined by who’s in the lead when the yellow flag comes out—not by who crosses the finish line first. The win then went to Elliot Sadler, who upon review was in the lead when the yellow caution lights started flashing around the track.
While that’s a neat present for birthday boy Elliot Sadler, you have to feel gutted for Poole, who after the review, was ruled to be a third-place finisher. Justin Allgaier came in second.
Full results can be found here.