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Logano Wins PIR; Championship Race Field Set

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, November 13 2016
Joey Logano won in overtime at Phoenix on Sunday and earned a berth in next weekend's championship-deciding Championship 4 race. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

Joey Logano won in overtime at Phoenix on Sunday and earned a berth in next weekend’s championship-deciding Championship 4 race. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

RacinToday.com

Joey Logano won Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Speedway in overtime and in doing so secured a spot in next weekend’s four-driver Championship 4 Chase playoff finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

sprint-logo-08“Man this feels good,” the Team Penske driver said in Victory Lane. “I never felt this good about a win before. There’s so much on the line and everybody brings there A game when it comes to winning championships and this team did it.”

Also securing a berth in the 2016 championship deciding race was Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing, who finished second at Phoenix.

“That was a really ugly race for us,” Busch said. “We ran pretty bad all day. But obviously, it was a great finish for us.”

Logano and Kenseth join Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards, who had secured Championship 4 berths by winning at Martinsville and Texas respetively the last two weeks, in the finale.

Suffering the biggest heart break was Matt Kenseth, who had a multi-second lead and apparent finale-securing lead with five laps to go. But with four to go, a wreck by Michael McDowell set up the overtime and in that overtimes, Kenseth was wrecked by Alex Bowman and Busch on the restart.

Kyle Larson finished third at PIR while Kevin Harvick was fourth. Fifth was Kurt Busch.

Bowman, subbing for injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, started from the pole and led the first 92 laps. On Lap 93, three laps after a restart, Logano moved past Bowman to take the lead.

Logano lost the lead when passed by Johnson on Lap 120.

Thanks to his pit ctrew, Logano moved back to the lead during yellow flag caution called on Lap 132. During that stop, Johnson was penalized for passing the pace car as he left the track to enter the pits.

On Lap 157 of the 312-lap race, Bowman moved past Logano and recaptured the lead.

With 75 laps to go, Bowman had the lead but behind him were Chasers Logano, Kenseth, Busch and Hamlin. All four were within a second of each other as they fought for the two available berths in the finale at Homestead.

On Lap 245, Kenseth moved past Logano in the race for second place.

With 56 laps to go, Bowman’s big lead vanished when a crash involving Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman brought out a caution. Most of the leaders pitted and Kenseth led them back onto the track.

Hamlin, however, stayed out and took the lead. Behind Hamlin on the restart were Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Bowman, Logano, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.

Kenseth blew past Hamlin on the restart, which came with 51 laps to go. With 46 laps to go, debris brought out the seventh  caution. On the restart, Kenseth kept his lead but Logano moved past Hamlin for second place.

With 30 laps to go, Kenseth had a second and a half lead over Logano. Kurt Busch was third and Kyle Busch fourth. Kenseth, Logano and Kyle Busch were all within two points of securing one of the final two spots in the finale.

Kenseth appeared headed to an easy win as the laps peeled away. But then came McDowell’s wreck and then, the race- and playoff berth-deciding overtime with Logano at the front.

“I had a good restart there at the end and holding off Kyle to try to get this thing into Miami,” he said.  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.  I couldn’t be more proud of this team.

“That last restart was crazy. I knew it was going ot be and there were a ton of scenarios playing out with the 4 and 18 and myself and the restart before that with the 20 up there. Everyone was racing for a championship. This wasn’t just a race. This was for a shot at the championship next week. The 22 car is going there and we have a hell of a shot at it. I couldn’t be more proud of the team executing today under pressure. There is no way you could put more pressure on them then they had today. I couldn’t be prouder of them for giving me the opportunity to do what I can on that last restart.”

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – Can-Am 500

Phoenix International Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Sunday, November 13, 2016

  1. (4) Joey Logano (C), Ford, 324.
  2. (19) Kyle Busch (C), Toyota, 324.
  3. (2) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 324.
  4. (6) Kevin Harvick (C), Chevrolet, 324.
  5. (12) Kurt Busch (C), Chevrolet, 324.
  6. (1) Alex Bowman(i), Chevrolet, 324.
  7. (5) Denny Hamlin (C), Toyota, 324.
  8. (8) * Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 324.
  9. (3) Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 324.
  10. (20) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 324.
  11. (9) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 324.
  12. (15) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 324.
  13. (13) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 324.
  14. (14) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 324.
  15. (25) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 324.
  16. (24) Greg Biffle, Ford, 324.
  17. (18) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 324.
  18. (22) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 324.
  19. (11) Carl Edwards (C), Toyota, 324.
  20. (28) Landon Cassill, Ford, 324.
  21. (10) Matt Kenseth (C), Toyota, 324.
  22. (27) Aric Almirola, Ford, 322.
  23. (21) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 322.
  24. (34) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 322.
  25. (32) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 322.
  26. (36) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 321.
  27. (29) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 321.
  28. (23) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 321.
  29. (16) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 320.
  30. (33) Brian Scott #, Ford, 319.
  31. (31) David Ragan, Toyota, 319.
  32. (30) Chris Buescher #, Ford, 318.
  33. (35) Jeffrey Earnhardt #, Ford, 318.
  34. (26) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 318.
  35. (39) * DJ Kennington(i), Chevrolet, 316.
  36. (38) * Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 315.
  37. (37) * Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, Fuel Pump, 296.
  38. (17) Jimmie Johnson (C), Chevrolet, 296.
  39. (7) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 289.
  40. (40) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 258.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  102.866 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 08 Mins, 59 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.587 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  9 for 53 laps.

Lead Changes:  8 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   A. Bowman(i) 1-92; J. Logano (C) 93-119; J. Johnson (C) 120-132; A. Bowman(i) 133; J. Logano (C) 134-156; A. Bowman(i) 157-257; D. Hamlin (C) 258-261; M. Kenseth (C) 262-316; J. Logano (C) 317-324.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  A. Bowman(i) 3 times for 194 laps; J. Logano (C) 3 times for 58 laps; M. Kenseth (C) 1 time for 55 laps; J. Johnson (C) 1 time for 13 laps; D. Hamlin (C) 1 time for 4 laps.

Top 16 in Points: J. Logano (C) – 4,118; Kyle Busch (C) – 4,113; D. Hamlin (C) – 4,107; M. Kenseth (C) – 4,094; K. Harvick (C) – 4,093; J. Johnson (C) – 4,078; Kurt Busch (C) – 4,076; C. Edwards (C) – 4,071; M. Truex Jr. – 2,266; B. Keselowski – 2,261; C. Elliott # – 2,255; K. Larson – 2,247; J. Mcmurray – 2,195; A. Dillon – 2,194; T. Stewart – 2,192; C. Buescher # – 2,152.

 

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, November 13 2016
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