Logano Advances With Phoenix Win
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on November 13, 2016 | 6:21 P.M. EST
"I've never felt this good about a win before." (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
AVONDALE, Ariz. - Joey Logano survived an overtime finish to win the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Int'l Raceway to advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Logano outraced Kyle Busch to the checkered flag in a second attempt at an overtime finish and the duo will move to the Championship 4 race next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. They join Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards as the four drivers who will run for the 2016 Sprint Cup Series title.
“This feels so good,” Logano said. “I've never felt this good about a win before. There was so much on the line and everyone brings their A-game when it comes to winning championships and this team did it. Man, this feels so good. I had a good restart there at the end and holding off Kyle to try to get this thing into Miami.
“We're racing for a championship now. We did exactly what we had to do. We've got to go to Homestead and do the same thing.”
Logano scored his third win of the year and 17th of his Sprint Cup Series career.
Busch, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five.
Alex Bowman, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Paul Menard completed the first 10 finishers.
The race was sent into overtime just before the white flag was displayed when Michael McDowell hit the wall. Matt Kenseth was leading the race at the time.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway next Sunday for the season-ending Ford 400.
How Logano Won: He used a great restart on the second overtime finish to get the jump on the field. Once Logano cleared Busch and the pack racing through the first turn, he pulled away to a relatively comfortable margin. When the checkered flag flew he was ahead of Busch by three car lengths and on his way to Miami to run for a title.
Who Had a Good Day: Logano and Busch by far had the best days in Phoenix as the duo punched their ticket to the Championship 4 race. But Bowman also showed just how strong he can be given the right circumstances with an impressive weekend, that started with a pole-winning effort on Friday. Bowman, filling in for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr., led the most laps on Sunday and although he doesn’t have a full-time ride for 2017, he continues to prove worthy of racing at NASCAR’s top level. (Read More)
Who Had a Bad Day: Matt Kenseth looked as if he was on his way to Victory Lane and a Championship 4 berth. That was until he got crossed up on the race’s first restart when he made contact with Bowman, sending him spinning into the wall and out of contention with severe damage to his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Bowman also was hit from behind by Kyle Busch, but Kenseth thought he was clear as the trio raced into Turn 1. Busch took the blame after the race. (Read More)
"The spotter said I was clear and I came to the bottom in Turn 1 because I certainly wanted to be at the bottom and be in front of him going into turn two and then I was in the wall," Kenseth said. "I don’t really know any more than that.”
Denny Hamlin saw his hopes of getting to run for a title at Homestead go away when pit strategy to stay out late in the race backfired. A series of caution flags cycled Hamlin back and on older tires he wasn’t able to challenge once he dropped in the field...Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr. both suffered the same penalty when NASCAR deemed each pulled up to their pits around the pace car under separate instances. Both drivers were furious with the call and ironically, later in the race both drivers exited after being involved in separate accidents…Harvick (Read More), Kenseth, Hamlin and Kurt Busch all failed to advance in the Chase. (Read More)
What Else Happened: While the first half of the race was relatively calm, that was not the case once the race reached its midway point. At one juncture, six of the top seven drivers were all involved in the Chase as they tried to lock up the final two spots in the title race. The result was a dizzying array of points scenarios as well as intense racing until the checkered flag finally waved.
Quotable: "I knew when I saw we were the only ones to stay, we had an uphill climb," Denny Hamlin on the failed pit strategy.
Noteable: Logano is the 24th driver to get a win at Phoenix…Bowman led 194 laps, the most led by a Hendrick Motorsports’ driver since Jimmie Johnson led 272 at Dover in June 2014…Larson, who spun on the opening lap, finished third for his best finish at Phoenix in his sixth start...In post-race inspection, the No. 18 Toyota had 19 secure lug nuts, which will lead to a fine later this week.
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