Brad Keselowski won his third race of the season at Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 301 in Loudon, but the big story will likely be what befell his teammate earlier in the race.
Logano, in the midst of the best season of his career, was running second when Shepherd, never a factor in the race, took him out. Simply by starting the race, Shepherd, age 72, extended his own record for oldest driver to run at the Sprint Cup level. But that's a distinction that held little weight with Logano after the wreck.
“The slowest car on the racetrack took us out,” Logano said. "I feel like there should be, like, a driver’s test before you get out in a Cup car and make sure you know how to drive before you drive one."
Logano elaborated in a later interview. "You would think there would be some courtesy to the leaders," he said. "He gets out of the way on the straightaway and then goes into the corner and slides right up into the lane I was in ... It is just dumb that it happened. I feel like that should be stuff that shouldn’t happen at this level of racing.”
Logano was referencing Shepherd's skill level, not his age, but it's likely that NASCAR will take a closer look at Shepherd's ability to compete at a reasonable level in the wake of the Logano incident.
Meanwhile, Keselowski enjoyed a near-flawless afternoon. When he wasn't leading a lap, he was preparing to lead, cutting through the field time and again with little trouble. Keselowski has now won three races this season and appears as dangerous a championship contender as anyone on the track. He led 134 of the race's 301 laps, and his winning margin could have been measured in multiple seconds were it not for a last-second green-white-checker. The Kyles Busch and Larson finished second and third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman, but nobody challenged Keselowski all afternoon.
“We keep having cars like this," he exulted after the race, "the sky’s the limit.”
Another former champion, Jimmie Johnson, saw his year's tire woes continue, with a left rear problem turning into a one-car crash that put him into the wall and out of the race before most viewers had figured out what channel was showing the race. After the wreck, Johnson and Goodyear officials differed on the causes of the wreck. Goodyear indicated that the problem was not the tires, but rather the lower-than-recommended pressure under which they were running.
“I can promise you one thing, it wasn’t due to low left rear tire pressure, which is what a lot of people are speculating,” Johnson countered. “We’ve been here for two days running and I had no issues ... I don’t know if we’ll ever know. Unfortunately, two tires went flat in a matter of laps.”
The Sprint Cup series now heads into a rare off weekend before reconvening at Indianapolis.