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Logano Ends Long Drought, Wins At Talladega

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 29 2018

Joey Logano and his Team Penske crew ended a long dry spell by winning at Talladega on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Andrew Coppley)

Talladega Superspeedway’s much-ballyhooed reputation of for producing exciting finishes took a beating on Sunday. But that was just fine with Joey Logano.

Logano, who led a race-best 70 of 188 laps, got the victory. It was the Team Penske driver’s  first of the season and third at the 2.66-mile high-banked oval. It was his 19th NASCAR Cup career victory and broke a year-long winless streak.

Reminded in Victory Lane that it has been a year between wins, Logano said, “You’re telling me? Man, it feels so good to be back in Victory Lane. There’s no feeling like this. Whew, feels so good.”

Kurt Busch finished second, .127 seconds behind the Team Penske Ford of Logano. He never was able to make a run at Logano. No help, he said.

“The 17 (Ricky Stenhouse Jr. of Roush Fenway Racing), he was there but I just needed him closer to my rear bumper to get that draft and to get that run. It just didn’t quite materialize.”

Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports finished third and Busch’s teammate at Stewart Haas Racing, Kevin Harvick, was fourth.

Elliott, the only driver in the top seven who was not driving a Ford, said he was surprised that the blue oval drivers seemed reluctant to make a move for the win.

“I thought for sure one of them (Ford drivers) wanted to win a little worse than they did,” Elliott said. “They were being very patient with one another. I was surprised by that.”

Stenhouse finished fifth.

The ending was set up when a caution came out with 34 laps to go and Logano out front but reporting a vibration in his steering wheel. Few of the top cars opted to pit.

When the race restarted with 29 to go, Logano was on the bottom and Almirola at the front of the top line. Logano’s concerns about the vibration also appeared to have ended.

In the restart scramble, Harvick moved onto Logano’s rear bumper. With 15 laps to go, the running order was Logano, Harvick, Kurt Busch, Elliott and Stenhouse Jr. – all running single file at the bottom of the track.

With seven to go, there was only one long line of cars with Logano, Harvick and Kurt Busch at the tip. With two to go, Kurt Busch moved to second.

On the final lap a second lane, with Stenhouse out front, formed but could not advance. From there, nobody could make a move on Logano who cruised to the win.

Brad Keselowski won the first stage and Paul Menard the second.

Kyle Busch, looking to win his fourth race in a row, was never a factor in his JGR Toyota. He failed to lead a lap and finished 13th.

The race did feature big wrecks and the first came on Lap 72. Involved were the cars of defending series champion Martin Truex Jr., Jamie McMurray, Trevor Bayne and Kyle Larson.

“I saw Jamie get loose and then the No. 20 got into the wall and we were just kind of caught up in it,” Larson said. “There wasn’t really anywhere I could go.”

Also caught up was Erik Jones, who said, “I believe I got down on the apron there a little bit and after that it took off on me and I got up into the 1 (McMurray) and that was kind of it from there. I feel bad that I ruined everybody’s day that was around me and also for our day. These cars are just really challenging to drive now and I think that’s why you’re not seeing a ton of racing early on. Unfortunately, I just pushed it to the limit a little too much and got up in an accident that took us out.”

The second big wreck occurred with 23 laps to go and took out a large number of contending cars, including those of Keselowski, who had led 21 laps, seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson, Paul Menard, AJ Allmendinger, Ryan Blaney, William Byron and Clint Bowyer.

It all started when Johnson lost control.

(This story will be updated shortly)

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – GEICO 500

Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega, Alabama

Sunday, April 29, 2018

  1. (9) Joey Logano, Ford, 188.
  2. (2) Kurt Busch, Ford, 188.
  3. (5) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 188.
  4. (1) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 188.
  5. (7) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 188.
  6. (12) David Ragan, Ford, 188.
  7. (40) Aric Almirola, Ford, 188.
  8. (11) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 188.
  9. (18) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 188.
  10. (14) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 188.
  11. (25) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 188.
  12. (16) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 188.
  13. (19) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 188.
  14. (4) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 188.
  15. (29) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 188.
  16. (15) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Chevrolet, 188.
  17. (26) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 188.
  18. (23) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 188.
  19. (33) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 188.
  20. (31) * DJ Kennington, Toyota, 188.
  21. (36) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 188.
  22. (30) * Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 188.
  23. (32) * Timothy Peters(i), Ford, 187.
  24. (37) Gray Gaulding, Toyota, 187.
  25. (35) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 186.
  26. (3) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 184.
  27. (34) Joey Gase(i), Chevrolet, Engine, 178.
  28. (27) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 174.
  29. (17) William Byron #, Chevrolet, Accident, 165.
  30. (13) Paul Menard, Ford, Accident, 165.
  31. (8) Clint Bowyer, Ford, Accident, 165.
  32. (20) Michael McDowell, Ford, Accident, 165.
  33. (10) Brad Keselowski, Ford, Accident, 165.
  34. (28) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, Accident, 165.
  35. (24) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, Accident, 165.
  36. (39) Timmy Hill(i), Ford, Engine, 151.
  37. (38) * Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, Suspension, 79.
  38. (21) Trevor Bayne, Ford, Accident, 71.
  39. (6) Erik Jones, Toyota, Accident, 71.
  40. (22) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Accident, 71.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  152.489 mph.

Time of Race:  03 Hrs, 16 Mins, 46 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.127 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  6 for 29 laps.

Lead Changes:  25 among 16 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Harvick 1-12; A. Bowman 13-38; D. Wallace Jr. # 39-43; B. Keselowski 44-57; A. Allmendinger 58; B. Keselowski 59-61; W. Byron # 62-63; B. Keselowski 64-66; W. Byron # 67; C. Buescher 68; M. DiBenedetto 69-74; J. Logano 75-96; D. Hamlin 97-104; P. Menard 105-112; B. Gaughan 113; W. Byron # 114-124; Kurt Busch 125-129; A. Allmendinger 130; R. Stenhouse Jr. 131-134; D. Hamlin 135-137; J. Logano 138-140; B. Keselowski 141; J. Logano 142-144; D. Suarez 145; K. Kahne 146; J. Logano 147-188.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  J. Logano 4 times for 70 laps; A. Bowman 1 time for 26 laps; B. Keselowski 4 times for 21 laps; W. Byron # 3 times for 14 laps; K. Harvick 1 time for 12 laps; D. Hamlin 2 times for 11 laps; P. Menard 1 time for 8 laps; M. DiBenedetto 1 time for 6 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 5 laps; D. Wallace Jr. # 1 time for 5 laps; R. Stenhouse Jr. 1 time for 4 laps; A. Allmendinger 2 times for 2 laps; B. Gaughan 1 time for 1 lap; K. Kahne 1 time for 1 lap; D. Suarez 1 time for 1 lap; C. Buescher 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 2,22,78,18,21,11,12,17,4,48

Stage #2 Top Ten: 21,22,12,4,17,38,48,41,24,18

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 29 2018
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