Joey Logano bumped Martin Truex Jr. on the final lap of the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway to take the checkered flag and clinch a spot in the Championship 4 Round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

Joey Logano NASCAR playoffs
Joey Logano used a bump-and-run maneuver to move past Martin Truex Jr. and win the First Data 500, clinching a spot in the final NASCAR playoff round. (Image: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty)

Logano used the bump-and-run maneuver against the defending champion as they came around the final turns on Sunday, grabbing a guaranteed finals spot and dropping Truex to third place.

Logano, Truex Debate Race Tactics

The finish elicited both cheers and boos from fans afterwards, but Logano said he did what he had to do to keep his title hopes alive.

Just thinking about Miami, man, Logano said after the race, referencing the championship race taking place next month at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Some are going to like it, and haters are going to hate a little bit, but Im a hard racer. I dont think thats a secret to anyone. Were here to win a championship this year.

Truex saw the finish more than a little differently, seeing Loganos tactics as dirty, even in such an important race.

I get that he wants to go to Homestead and I dont know, man, Truex said after the race. I dont appreciate it when others race me like that. Little bumps, obviously, we run into each other all the time, but just to deliberately knock me out of the way for the win, I thought was a cheap shot, in my opinion, and Ill remember that if hes in front of me coming to the checkered flag.

Naturally, Logano saw his tactics as being within the traditional boundaries of NASCAR racing.

My goal was not to wreck him in any way, Logano said. My goal was to win the race, but I dont want to win by dumping somebody. I want to win by making a move, and thats the classic bump and run. That is the move that our sport and Martinsville in particular was built on.

Truex Vows to Get Last Laugh

Truex promised that this wouldnt be the final word in the playoff chase, however.

He may have won the battle, but he aint winning the damn war, Truex said after the race. Thats it. Im not letting him Im going to win the championship.

At the moment, it appears likely that Logano and Truex will both be in the running when the championship is decided at the Ford EcoBoost 400 in Miami on Nov. 18.

Logano is now locked into the championship picture, while Kyle Busch sits comfortably in second place. Truex and Kevin Harvick are tied for third, 25 points ahead of the first man out: Kurt Busch.

But if any of the eight drivers remaining in the playoff picture should win one of the next two races, they will be given a guaranteed spot in the championship finale as well. That means Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, or Aric Almirola could throw a wrench into the championship aspirations of the Big Three: if one of them grabs an automatic spot, then one of Busch, Truex, or Harvick will have to miss out.