Logano Wins Bristol Battle
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on August 23, 2014 | 10:40 P.M. EST
Logano had three career wins coming into the season and after the 24th race of 2014 he matched that total with a victory in the annual summer classic at Bristol. (Photor: Getty Images)
Joey Logano scored his third Sprint Cup Series win of the season when he took the checkered flag in Saturday's IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Logano had three career wins coming into the season and after the 24th race of 2014 he matched that total with a victory in the annual summer classic at Bristol.
"It's awesome," Logano said in Victory Lane. "I've never won more than one race in a season, and now I've won three."
He held off a last ditch charge by Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski to prevail on Saturday night.
Logano worked his way past Matt Kenseth with 45 laps to go and went on to take the checkered flag. He joins three other drivers in the three victory club this season; Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson.
Keselowski, Kenseth, Johnson and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five.
“Joey just ran a great race and we were really strong in that midsection and … we got it back a little bit on that last run,” Keselowski said.
“Our car was just about equal to Joey’s but he just had better track position than on us.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard and Greg Biffle completed the first ten finishers.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway nest Sunday night.
How Logano won: He led 76 laps and ran near the front of the field all night long. But he showed strength when it mattered most as the race near its conclusion and Logano battled with Kenseth for the top spot before finally muscling around for the lead with 45 laps left and set sail for the checkered flag.
What else happened: It was a competitive night with a lot of two and three wide racing and a number of drivers were in contention to win at some point. Jamie McMurray led a career-high 148 laps and looked like he was going to score his first win of the season and in turn punch a ticket to the Chase until a late race caution. When yellow flew on lap 431, McMurray and others pitted while Kenseth stayed out to inherit the lead and the Chip Ganassi Racing driver could not rally back to challenge for the lead and finished eighth.
Who else had a good day: Kenseth, while still winless this season, had a strong night and a good finish that added to his stranglehold on a Chase spot through the points system….Despite two pit road speeding penalties Jimmie Johnson rebounded for a top-five finish…..Kurt Busch came back from his exit last week at Michigan via a trip into the wall with a fifth place performance…..Ricky Stenhouse, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle all put Roush Fenway Racing inside the top 10.
Who had a bad day: Several drivers were victims of a number of multi-car accidents Saturday night including Kyle Busch, who was clipped in the rear bumper by Clint Bowyer on lap 125, in the aftermath of Kyle Larson and Brian Vickers getting together. The incident also collected Aric Almirola…..Denny Hamlin had the race lead on lap 161 when Kevin Harvick made contact with his car and sent the Joe Gibbs Racing driver sliding into the inside retaining wall. Hamlin bounced off the wall and back out onto the racetrack directly in the path of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who made hard contact. Hamlin was furious with Harvick and tossed his HANS device at the passing No. 4 car to the roar of the crowd….Danica Patrick had a rough night made rougher when Alex Bowman turned her around racing through Turn 1….Marcos Ambrose, who had hoped to be a contender Saturday night, had mechanical problems early and fell several laps down.
Quote of the night: “He thinks he knows everything,’’ Denny Hamlin of Kevin Harvick.
Notables: Paul Menard followed up his top-five Michigan finish with a top-10 run Saturday night in Bristol…..Kyle Larson had early trouble when he got caught up in an on track incident but rebounded for a 12th place finish….AJ Allmendinger’s strong performance after his Watkins Glen win continued with a 14th-place effort…..Jeff Burton filled in for Tony Stewart for a second straight week and came home 15th.