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NASCAR Cup Bristol II

NASCAR Cup champions Logano and Harvick eliminated from playoffs

Any hope Joey Logano had of defending his 2022 NASCAR Cup Series title ended when he was collected in a multi-car crash Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

 Corey LaJoie, Spire Motorsports, NEGU Chevrolet Camaro, Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing, Motorcraft / Quick Lane Ford Mustang, Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang, Ty Dillon, Spire Motorsports, Gainbridge Chevrolet Camaro, Ryan Newman, Rick Ware Racing, Biohaven/Jacob Co. Ford Mustang, Justin Haley, Kaulig Racing, Mountain Dew Chevrolet Camaro, JJ Yeley, Rick Ware Racing, Steakhouse Elite Burgers Ford Mustang, Chase Briscoe, Stewart-Haas Racing, Rush Truck Centers / Cummins Ford Mustang, Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, GEARWRENCH Ford Mustang

Logano, who won the Cup title in both 2018 and 2022, struggled from the get-go at Bristol.

He started deep in the field and failed to score any stage points. Still, he entered the race with a 12-point buffer, which kept his title hopes alive despite a dismal showing.

Unfortunately for Logano, luck was not on his side. Just past the halfway point of the race, Corey LaJoie spun ahead of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford.

Sliding back across the track, he collected several other drivers. Among them were Logano, who could not continue and fell out of the race on Lap 262 of 500. 

He finished 34th, and was hoping misfortune would find his playoff rivals, but it never did.

"Obviously, it’s a real bummer," said Logano. "You get out of the race like that and you’re behind the wall and you’re in denial for a minute.  You don’t want to believe that it happened and you want to think that it’s fixable, but the car was tore up too bad.”

Logano later added: “I knew my situation and what I needed to do, but it’s Bristol and there’s not really many things you do differently depending on your scenario. There’s nothing I could have done there in that wreck. It’s just a product of being back there and the way we raced or anything like that didn’t affect that.  The only thing that affected that is we were back there, so that’s it.”

 Corey LaJoie, Spire Motorsports, NEGU Chevrolet Camaro, Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing, Motorcraft / Quick Lane Ford Mustang, Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang, Ty Dillon, Spire Motorsports, Gainbridge Chevrolet Camaro, Ryan Newman, Rick Ware Racing, Biohaven/Jacob Co. Ford Mustang, Justin Haley, Kaulig Racing, Mountain Dew Chevrolet Camaro, JJ Yeley, Rick Ware Racing, Steakhouse Elite Burgers Ford Mustang, Chase Briscoe, Stewart-Haas Racing, Rush Truck Centers / Cummins Ford Mustang, Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, GEARWRENCH Ford Mustang

Corey LaJoie, Spire Motorsports, NEGU Chevrolet Camaro, Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing, Motorcraft / Quick Lane Ford Mustang, Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang, Ty Dillon, Spire Motorsports, Gainbridge Chevrolet Camaro, Ryan Newman, Rick Ware Racing, Biohaven/Jacob Co. Ford Mustang, Justin Haley, Kaulig Racing, Mountain Dew Chevrolet Camaro, JJ Yeley, Rick Ware Racing, Steakhouse Elite Burgers Ford Mustang, Chase Briscoe, Stewart-Haas Racing, Rush Truck Centers / Cummins Ford Mustang, Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, GEARWRENCH Ford Mustang

Photo by: Lesley Ann Miller / Motorsport Images

Logano was one of four drivers eliminated from the playoffs at Bristol, and he was not the only Cup champion to fall out of contention for the 2023 title.

Kevin Harvick, who is competing in his final season before stepping away from racing full-time, was also eliminated.

The 2014 Cup champion was a non-factor for the entire race, ending the night in 29th and five laps down. 

He and Logano both missed out on the Round of 12 by just four points.

Harvick didn't have much to say afterwards, but the frustration was clear. "We've been like that all year," he said. "We've been hit or miss. Tonight we just missed by a mile."

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has won several times before at Bristol, but said of Saturday's lackluster showing: "I've had some good days and bad days, but that's definitely the worst one I've had with fenders on it."

He then concluded: "I didn't really have many expectations with as up and down as the year has been. It is what it is. It's probably about what we deserve."

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