Joey Logano knew that he couldn’t beat Chase Elliott for the 2020 Cup Series title without a late caution flag at Phoenix on Sunday. And yes, Logano thought about spinning a car to get that caution.
Logano said on SiriusXM Channel 90 on Wednesday morning that he had deliberated dumping a lapped car to give himself a chance at Elliott on a late restart. But he ultimately “didn’t have the heart” to make the move. And Elliott went on to win the race and the 2020 Cup Series title.
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) November 11, 2020
“What does that say about your championship and your character and everything that goes on,” Logano said. “Where is the line? That is a real question you have to ask yourself in the heat of the moment. I know I was beat. At that moment I said ‘dangit I’m done. I can’t win this race unless a caution comes out.’ ”
Chase Elliott made winning pass with 43 laps to go
Logano won the 2018 Cup Series title after a restart with 15 laps to go at Homestead. Logano passed Martin Truex Jr. with 12 laps to go and ended up winning his first Cup Series title by 1.7 seconds.
Elliott passed Logano on Sunday at Phoenix with 43 laps to go and drove away. Elliott’s margin of victory ended up being 2.7 seconds over Brad Keselowski. Logano finished third.
“To me it’s too far,” Logano said of wrecking someone to cause a caution under championship circumstances. “To me it’s like — yes you want to win the championship and championships mean everything, but boy it’s like ... ahhh ... and you’ll second guess yourself to the end. Like what would have happened if I did? What would have happened? But it’s not the right thing to do.”
Logano was involved in a late-race crash while racing for the championship in 2016. Carl Edwards went spinning off his bumper at Homestead as Logano looked inside for a pass on a late restart.
But that wreck wasn’t intentional. Logano was simply trying to make a pass on Edwards and Edwards was simply trying to block Logano. And besides, Logano’s car was damaged after that crash. It cost him the championship too.
Logano’s candor Wednesday is refreshing. It was hard not to wonder as the laps ticked down on Sunday if a caution was going to come out and Elliott was going to be forced to defend his lead on a restart. Or even lose that lead on pit road.
If fans watching at home were wondering about a late caution ruining Elliott’s chances, you had to know his competitors were doing the same thing.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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