Logano Powers to Pocono Win

Joey Logano

Logano led a career-high 48 laps to become the youngest winner at Pocono. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Joey Logano drove around Mark Martin in the final laps and went on to score his second career Sprint Cup Series win in Sunday's Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR at Pocono Raceway.

Martin had the lead with four laps left in the race, but Logano made contact with his rear bumper and slipped by for the top spot. He went on to take his first Sprint Cup Series checkered flag since winning at New Hampshire in 2009.

The victory snapped Logano’s 104-race Sprint Cup winless streak and provided a definite shot of confidence to the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

“I didn’t want to get into the back of Mark there but, I just kind of run into it at speed and he was getting free, and I just kind of stayed right there,” Logano said. “Man, it’s awesome to finally get to victory lane the right way. You don’t know how much this means.”

Logano led a career-high 48 laps to become the youngest winner at Pocono. With many speculating about his future at JGR being in doubt as Logano’s contract is set to expire at season’s end, the victory gave the young driver even more satisfaction.

“I hope it shuts ‘em all up is what I hope,” Logano said. “I’ll tell you what, it means a lot for this whole team.”

Martin was forced to settle for second place and although he accepted the move Logano made on him for the win, the veteran driver wasn’t exactly pleased with the outcome.

“Well, I'd call that a bump and run,” said Martin when asked about the move.

“It has been acceptable in this racing for a long time. It's not how I would have done it, but certainly if I'd have had a fast enough car, he would have gotten a return. But I couldn't quite keep up with him. “It was great racing, and everybody does what they're -- what they decide to do. It was a great race, and I'm very, very proud of my race team for putting me in something that would give me a shot. I'm having fun with it. Maybe next week we'll be the ones with the trophy.”

Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin rounded out the first five finishers.

Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray completed the top 10.

Earnhardt Jr. was one of several drivers caught in the fuel strategy game. The Hendrick Motorsports driver was forced to pit for fuel and give up track position near the front of the field late in the going and was not able to fight his way back for a better finish.

“Well, we just didn’t want to run out of gas,” Earnhardt explained why he came in and others did not. “I didn’t know the caution flags were going to be so long. And they were long enough to help them guys make it on fuel. We’re not taking those kinds of chances ~ just yet.”

The first repave at Pocono since 1995 created record speeds in qualifying as well as intense competition with side-by-side racing the order of the day.

That led to several instances of contact between cars the first coming early in the race when a multi-car accident took out AJ Allmendinger, Martin Truex Jr. and Landon Cassill.

Other pre-race favorites also suffered issues during the afternoon including Kyle Busch, who suffered an engine problem for the second straight week as well as Kasey Kahne, a victim of a cut tire late in the race that sent him into the wall.

The race was also Pocono’s first 400-mile Sprint Cup Series event and featured 22 pit-road speeding penalties as drivers had issues finding the timing and scoring lines on pit road.

While some drivers blamed NASCAR for making a mistake in the new pit road grid, the sanctioning body maintained everything was working as planned.

"There's nothing wrong with the loops," said NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton. "There's a time to pass over them, calculates the speed and that's the end of it. Pretty simple.

“The bottom line is every week, there's maps printed back here for crew chiefs to come get. Some choose to get them, some choose to measure their own lines and some go off last year. We put the loops in the racetrack. It's just simple math."

Kenseth took over the points lead from teammate Greg Biffle, who came into the race as the leader but finished 24th with engine problems.

“It’s unfortunate,” said Biffle. “We’ve been on the edge with these engines all year and it’s just such a fine line with oil temperature, and you come here shifting and it just didn’t make it. It’s unfortunate. It’s a good thing we just lost a cylinder and could make it to the finish.”

Earnhardt Jr. is ten behind with Biffle, Hamlin and Johnson the top five.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Michigan International Speedway for next Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Joey Logano

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