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Track Talk: AAA Texas 500 at Texas

With three races remaining, Kevin Harvick looks to secure a Championship 4 spot during today's AAA Texas 500!

With three races remaining, Kevin Harvick looks to secure a Championship 4 spot during today’s AAA Texas 500!

Each weekend, our panel provides their thoughts on the latest stories in NASCAR while predicting the winner of the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, the upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race!

Today, our panelists Adam LucasAshley Hobbs, Ashley HullCody ShoppeJose Acero Jr, Kathleen CassidyKatie Copple, and Matt Sisoler discuss Joey Logano’s much talked about win at Martinsville and the potential of retaliation from Martin Truex Jr in the near future!

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Question 1
On to Homestead-Miami!

On to Homestead-Miami!

Joey Logano parlayed some aggressive tactics to win at Martinsville, earning a pivotal Championship 4 berth.  In today’s NASCAR, was his move warranted or somewhat out of line considering how Martin Truex Jr raced him in the final 10 laps?

Acero :  Alright, if you thought that Logano raced Truex dirty there at the end, then you should try watching, I don’t know golf or something. That bump and run Logano did is the definition of short track racing. Truex just needed something to whine about at the end. He would have done the exact same thing.

Cassidy : The battle of the lead at the end of the race was amazing and exactly what fans want to see. The issue is when a less popular driver ‘does wrong’ to a fan favourite – that is what you saw last weekend.

Copple :  Haven’t we had this discussion many times this year? They are racing for the win. Not only a win, but a chance to race for the Championship. Unless it was a blatant, illegal move, there is nothing wrong with racing hard for that win.

Hobbs :  If you are not pushing it to the limits to get into the final four at Homestead, what are you doing in NASCAR? Joey Logano knew he was on the outside looking in before the race started, and when it came down to the end, he had a golden opportunity. Yes, it stinks for Martin Truex Jr., but he needs to put it in the past and focus on the next race.

Lucas :  That was the purest of pure forms of stock racing. Every driver who’s raced a short track will tell you that being the leader on the white flag lap is basically a kite dancing in a hurricane. Earnhardt Sr would’ve done the same thing! Yet, fans are boo-hooing the entire event. I don’t understand, do you guys want doors and bumpers banging coming to the checkered flag, or the leader to win by over five seconds? I enjoyed that finish and hope that we see more action like it!

Shoppe :  That was one of the best finishes ever and it makes me so mad to see so many people angry about it! I can’t count all the bump and run moves that have happened over the years and this one isn’t any different! Pure, clean, acceptable racing! Logano didn’t wreak Truex, he moved him for a win. Why did he do that? Because that’s the point, to win! If you think somebody should just give up and finish second when they get passed with a turn still to go, then don’t even watch!

Sisoler :  I think it was just fine. That is NASCAR, and beyond that, that is quintessential short track racing! It was clearly one of the most exciting finishes in a while in this series. And it was the old bump n’ run. Joey moved MTJ out of the way to get a win, and he did it on the last corner to be sure Truex wouldn’t be able to get him back in a following corner. It was good, hard playoff racing, and something we’ve come to expect from Martinsville this time of year.

Question 2
Should I stay or should I go?

Should I stay or should I go?

Martin Truex Jr left Martinsville fuming as he was within one lap of the win and a Championship 4 seed.  Will we see Truex retaliate or seek vengeance by going back to what the No. 78 was known for last year, aka taking no prisoners?

Acero :  Truex would be insane to retaliate if he ends up in the final 4 at Homestead. But if he is outside looking in at Homestead, then absolutely will he pay Logano back! Remember he said, he won the battle but he ain’t winning the war!

Cassidy :  If Truex Jr is eliminated before Homestead, he has nothing to lose as Logano proceeds. However, if both teams find themselves in the finals it would be very silly to retaliate that that time. Forgive, but don’t forget is my best advice for the 78 team.

Copple :  If he is on the bubble of that transfer spot, I think all bets are off. But if he is safe inside the final 4, then why risk retaliation? The goal here is to race for the win at Homestead. I don’t see Truex Jr. jeopardizing that chance with retaliation against Logano.

Hobbs :  Martin Truex Jr. has a cooler head than vengeance; at least for 2018. He is focused on winning the championship. But Martinsville will remain in his memory.

Lucas :  If they do retaliate, I will personally lose a lot of respect for Truex Jr. Logano pulled a racing move which punched his ticket to Homestead. When you have stakes that big, you go hard.

Shoppe : If Martin Truex Jr does retaliate, I believe it would take a very particular set of circumstances. First of all, Truex would have to be out of contention by Homestead-Miami. I don’t see someone with a shot at the title in the final four risk that just to settle a score. Only other way I see anything happening is if it happened to come down to the two of them battling each other for the championship in the closing laps at Homestead.

Sisoler :  I think it could be a bit of both. If Truex is out of the running, then we may see some sort of retaliation, but if he is in the Championship 4 at Homestead, then we’ll see MTJ take no prisoners.

That’s a couple of laps around this fast but treacherous race track near Fort Worth!  Before we drop the hammer for a win at my new hometrack, let’s review last Sunday’s action from Martinsville!
Martinsville proved tricky for half of the lot.

Martinsville proved tricky for half of the lot.

And oh yes, the points race has tightened up!

And oh yes, the points race has tightened up!

Now, it’s about that time to bring forth the rhythm and the rhyme.  Let’s drop the hammer for today’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas!
Four race picks at this usually tricky Texas track? Oh boy, oh boy!

Four race picks at this usually tricky Texas track? Oh boy, oh boy!

Tiongson :  Well, it’s about time to use him, eh? Texas seems to bring out the most in Brad Keselowski. I think it’s time for him to make some noise this fall, even as a Playoffs spoiler.

Lucas :  Kyle Busch gets his ticket officially to Homestead.

TPF Stats :  Who else besides the man who won this race a year ago – Kevin Harvick.

Acero :  Harvick…

Copple :  Harvick

Hobbs :  Martin Truex Jr has unfinished business in this third round of the playoffs…

Cassidy :  MTJ.

Shoppe :  MTJ joins his good buddy Joey Logano in the championship four with a statement win at Texas!

Sisoler :  I’m feeling Truex Jr. He was within a corner of getting the ticket to the next round, and I think he’ll get it here.

That wraps this week’s preview, race fans!  Thanks for joining us for another edition of Track Talk!

We’re ready for some racing. How about you? What do you think are the biggest storylines heading into Sunday’s race and who is your favorite to win?  Tweet us now @ThePodiumFinish and tell us now!

Thanks as always to the TPF team for their amazing efforts this week!  We hope to see you at the races.

The opinions and thoughts expressed in Track Talk are solely of the authors. They do not reflect any organizations affiliated with the participants and author outside of TPF. This weekly feature is strictly for entertainment purposes and are not indicative of TPF, the organization, and its staff.

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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