By David Morgan, Associate Editor
When the NASCAR Cup Series goes superspeedway racing at Talladega, it’s not a matter of if someone is going to get turned and sent for a ride, it’s just a matter of when.
In the closing laps of the first stage of Sunday’s GEICO 500, the inevitable crash broke out, with Joey Logano’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford getting the worst of it with an airborne tumble in Turn 3.
Running in third place behind leader Matt DiBenedetto and teammate Ryan Blaney, Logano was biding his time when contact from Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. turned Denny Hamlin sideways, making contact with Logano’s left rear, spinning Logano and sending him skyward.
As Logano’s car turned broadside in front of the pack, air rushed in underneath his car, and like a piece of paper blowing in the breeze, Logano’s bright orange Autotrader sponsored car flipped over and landed on the roof, caving it in before flipping back on its wheels and skidding down to the bottom of the track.
Luckily for Logano, he wasn’t hit by any other cars in the process, aside from a brush from Bubba Wallace as he was coming back down from his aerobatic flight, and was able to climb out unhurt from his damaged Ford Mustang.
After a mandatory ride to the Infield Care Center, Logano emerged and gave a scathing indictment of the current state of superspeedway racing that has seen him involved in violent crashes at both Talladega and Daytona this season.
“I guess I don’t know exactly what to think. It is a product of this racing,” Logano said. “On one hand, I am so proud to drive a Cup car that is safe, and that I can go through a crash like that and get out and speak about it. On one hand, I am mad about being in the crash and on the other, I am happy to be alive.
“On another hand, I am wondering when we are going to stop because this is dangerous doing what we are doing. I got a roll bar in my head. That is not okay. I am one hit away from the same situation Ryan Newman just went through. I just don’t feel like that is acceptable.
“A lot of it is the big spoiler and the big runs and all the pushing. It is nobody’s fault. Denny (Hamlin) is trying to go and the 47 is trying to go. It is a product of this racing. We have to fix it though. Someone already got hurt and we are still doing it, so that’s not real smart.
“At the same time, I am appreciative of driving a car that is this safe and what Team Penske has done for the safety of these cars so that I can live to talk about it and go again. I got lucky that I didn’t get hit while I was in the air. It is unfortunate for our Autotrader Mustang but we will go on but it won’t be a good starting spot next week.”