Logano joins three win club at Bristol

August 24, 2014 No Comments
CREDIT: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images

CREDIT: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images

By Mark Schafer

Jamie McMurray dominated the night. Leading the most laps that he had ever led in his entire career, McMurray was racing for his season. A win would assure himself a birth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

Then came a caution on lap 432 and a choice had to be made. Either come down pit road or stay on track and try and hold off the rest of the field on worn tires.

McMurray and his No. 1 Earnhardt-Ganassi team decided to pit, while the No.20 Joe Gibbs Racing team of Matt Kenseth stayed out. For both drivers that was what sealed the night for both of them.

Kenseth stayed up front, but McMurray fell back in the top ten where his car handling went away and he struggled to find the speed that allowed him to lead over 120 laps on the night.

Up front it was the Kenseth’s car that was pacing the field. However growing in the mirror of Kenseth was the yellow car of Joey Logano. The weekend was a strong one for Penske Racing drivers and Logano was the only one that did not get a chance to participate in victory lane – at least not yet.

As the laps started to click off it was Logano and Kenseth that were going door to door for the lead. Then a break came for Logano.

The two cars were racing for the leadand also tip-toeing their way through the lap down traffic. With about 40 laps remaining in the race Logano used a lap down car as a block for Kenseth’s car and drove past him to take the lead on the bottom of the race track while Kenseth was stuck up high behind slower traffic.

One lap later Kenseth was passed again, this time by Brad Keselowski in the other Penske Racing entry. The race during the last 40 laps was for the win and bragging rights in the Penske team garage.

Logano had the lead, but then he pulled up to the back bumper of Jeff Gordon, who had dominated the race earlier, but fell to the back into traffic because of car troubles and pit road woes. It was when Logano was racing to get by Gordon that things started to heat up for the lead, and inside Logano’s car.

“There at the end I had something go wrong,” Logano told ESPN reporters after the race. “I don’t know if it was a hub or something in the wheel, but I had something start to vibrate. There always has to be some sort of drama at the end of these races.”

As Logano started to experience problems with his car Keselowski inched closer. What was a one second lead turned into a half second lead, then a quarter second lead.

By the time the last lap came, Keslowski had one move left. In turns three and four Keselowski stayed off the brakes as much as he could to try and close the gap between the two. He succeeded as the two were virtually side by side in the last corner.

Logano was able to keep his momentum up and drive to his first career Bristol Motor Speedway win. In one of the most legendary races on the season.

“I feel like this is one of the main races of the year. It feels great to be able to win it,” Logano said.

Logano’s win was his third win of the season. He joins Gordon, Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr in the list of drivers that have three wins this season.

Penske and Ford swept the weekend at Bristol. It is the first time that has happened since 2006 when Roush-Fenway swept the weekend series.

McMurray who led the most laps, but finished eighth saw one of his best chances to get into the chase fall away on that last pit stop.

“I dont know what happened my car got really tight,” McMurray explained about his car when it was in traffic. “I really thought that tonight was going to be our night to get back in victory lane. I don’t feel like we did anything wrong, just as the track rubbered up more the handling went away.”

McMurray currently needs a win to qualify for the chase.

Race results:  

1. Joey Logano

2. Brad Keselowski

3. Matt Kenseth

4. Jimmie Johnson

5. Kurt Busch

6. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

7. Carl Edwards

8. Jamie McMurray

9. Paul Menard

10. Greg Biffle

11. Kevin Harvick

12. Kyle Larson

13. Ryan Newman

14. A. J. Allmendinger

15. Jeff Burton

16. Jeff Gordon

17. Clint Bowyer

18. Michael McDowell

19. Justin Allgaier

20. Martin Truex Jr.

21. Brian Vickers

22. Landon Cassill

23. David Ragan

24. Reed Sorenson

25. David Gilliland

26. Casey Mears

27. Danica Patrick

28. Austin Dillon

29. Josh Wise

30. Cole Whitt

31. David Stremme

32. Alex Bowman

33. JJ Yeley

34. Marcos Ambrose

35. Kasey Kahne

36. Kyle Busch

37. Ryan Truex

38. Michael Annett

39. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

40. Denny Hamlin

41. Aric Almirola

42. Brett Moffitt

43. Dave Blaney

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