Logano Wins Richmond in 300th Start

Joey Logano

Logano celebrates his 18th career win in his 300th start. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Making his 300th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start, Joey Logano came from the rear of the field to win Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

Logano had to start from the 37th position after the Team Penske crew made a transmission change on the Shell Pennzoil Ford. But he was able to work to the front and thanks to some pit strategy for track position, get the lead and drive to his first Cup win of the 2017 season.

“I didn’t really discuss it much with (crew chief) Todd Gordon,” Logano said of the pit strategy to stay out earlier in the last stage to get track position.. “My thought process was, ‘Oh no!’ right after we stayed out. But we were able to maintain the lead. I don’t think we would have been able to win the race and hold off Kyle (Busch) if it had stayed green. The caution came out. 

“The boys had a great stop which gave us good track position to pass the cars that stayed out. We were able to have a good start, work our way past those cars and tried to take off the best I could. I knew the 2 was so much faster than everybody and I had to get out there as quick and as far as I could. He was on his way to catch me. I think he was catching me a couple tenths a lap. That was all I had inside the car and I burned them up early trying to go. I am proud of the effort of the team. We executed under pressure today and brought a car home that was a 5th-10th place car home to victory lane.”

It was his 18th career win and Logano has now scored at least one victory in six straight seasons.

It was a 1-2 finish for Roger Penske’s team with Brad Keselowski finishing second.

Denny Hamlin (Read More), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five.

However, Hamlin’s car was found to be missing one lug nut in post race inspection and the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 team will face a penalty later this week.

Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola and Martin Truex Jr. completed the first 10 finishers.

Logano led twice for 25 laps including the final 17.

Matt Kenseth and Keselowski won the race’s first two stages. (Stage Points)

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Talladega Superspeedway next Sunday, May 7.

How Logano Won: Logano used more strategy last when he came to pit road for fresh tires on what turned out to be the final stop of the day, giving up the lead in the process. But he made a late swing down pit road causing Kyle Busch, who was trailing, to miss the commitment line and he was subsequently called for a violation. On the ensuing restart, Logano’s fresh tires got him back to the front and once he moved back to the top spot he was on his way to the checkered flag.

Who Had a Good Day:
Keselowski scored his sixth top-five finish of 2017, tied with Logano for the most in the series…Stenhouse Jr. slapped the wall early in the race but battled back to score his fourth top-10 finish of 2017. The Roush Fenway Racing driver had only six top-10s in all of 2016…Harvick has finished top-five in the last three races of 2017 and the last three races at Richmond…McMurray scored his fifth top-10 finish of 2017. His fifth top-10 of 2016 was at New Hampshire in race No. 19.

Who Had a Bad Day:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. struggled all afternoon but his day really went bad when he made contact with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson. After returning to the track, Earnhardt Jr. spun out later with a cut tire and finished 30th (Read More)…Erik Jones had a fast car throughout the weekend but never got a chance to show it during the race. He cut a tire only a few laps after the green flag flew and slammed the wall hard severely damaging his Toyota (Read More)…Kenseth led every lap of the first stage after starting the pole. But his string of bad luck continued when he had an issue late as well as he wound up 23rd…Ryan Blaney’s hot start to the season cooled off with a 36th-place finish, thanks to also having a tire cut down and hitting the wall.

What Else Happened:
The drivers that got out front in the early stages dominated with Kenseth and Keselowski driving to relatively easy stage wins. But the battle for position behind the top spot all afternoon was intense, with four-wide racing sometimes on display. The hot weather and conditions made for a slick track and there were definitely multiple groove options throughout the day.

Quotable:
“Balls and strikes,” Kyle Busch when asked about the commitment line violation that took him from contention late in Sunday’s race.

Notable: Sunday marked the fourth time Logano and Keselowski have finished 1-2 in a Cup race during their careers…Logano is the season’s seventh different winner…His last win at Richmond came in 2014.

 

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