Joey Logano wins first race of season at wild Richmond
RELATED: Race results " Standings " Stage results " Detailed breakdown SHOP: Winner gear! RICHMOND, Va. -- It took Joey Logano all afternoon to drive from the back of the field to the front in Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Logano started from the rear after a post-qualifying transmission change, but when the checkered flag waved after Lap 400, the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford was at the head of the field, having held off a banzai charge from teammate Brad Keselowski during a 19-lap green-flag run. Logano took the lead for the first time on Lap 384, after restarting behind six cars that had stayed out on old tires under caution for Ryan Blaney’s contact with the Turn 3 wall on Lap 377. On fresh rubber, Logano made short work of the cars in front of him and passed series leader Kyle Larson for the top spot with 16 circuits left. Keselowski had a faster car, having led 110 laps, but he also had more difficulty getting through traffic after the final restart. By the time Logano took the checkered flag, Keselowski had narrowed his teammate's straightaway lead to roughly three car-lengths before running out of time. The 26-year-old from Connecticut won his 18th race in his 300th start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It was his first victory of the season and his second at Richmond. Logano and Keselowski had stayed out under the penultimate caution on Lap 367 and appeared vulnerable to the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch until NASCAR called the final yellow five laps after the restart on Lap 377. Of the cars that came to pit road on Lap 378, Logano was first off and lined up behind the six cars that stayed out -- those of Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chris Buescher, Martin Truex Jr., David Ragan and Cole Whitt. Busch drew a penalty for a commitment line violation and went to the rear of the field, eliminating one of the contending cars. RELATED: Watch how Logano's pit road games got Kyle Busch "The caution came out," Logano said of the final yellow. "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 (Keselowski) 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’m proud of the effort of the team. We executed under pressure today and brought a car home that was a fifth-to-10th-place car to Victory Lane." For his part, Keselowski was philosophical about the way the race unfolded. "I was just hoping for another restart or the race to get extended for another 10 laps," Keselowski said. "I think we had a ton of long-run speed today. That short run at the end ... half the field came, half the field didn’t. I just got stuck in a lane of cars that didn’t go. "By the time I did, he (Logano) had a whole straightaway on me. I got it down to a couple of car-lengths at the end. All and all, I’m happy for Team Penske with the 1-2 finish. We’ll take it and move on." RELATED: Drivers to win in his 300th start Virginia native Denny Hamlin ran third, but his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota couldn’t match the speed of the Team Penske Fords. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. recovered from a brush with the Turn 3 wall to come home fourth on older tires, holding off fifth-place Kevin Harvick over the final green-flag run. The first major incident of the day happened late when Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson got into each other, causing damage to Junior's No. 88. He finished 30th, while Johnson placed 11th. MORE: Johnson, Earnhardt Jr. come together at Richmond The Monster Energy Series hits the track again next weekend at NASCAR's biggest track for the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, FOX). Keselowski is the defending winner. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Hamlin finishes third, but there's work to do
RELATED: Results " Standings " Detailed breakdown RICHMOND, Va. – A third-place finish at Richmond International Raceway was little consolation for Virginia native Denny Hamlin, who craves victory at his home track but knows his cars aren't yet fast enough to outrun the best in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. "Yeah, it was about as good as we had," Hamlin said. "You know, we just didn't have the speed that the other cars had. But we optimized our day. It's the best we could do. We finished right where we should have." Hamlin thought he and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch might have the opportunity to steal a win when Toyota Owners 400 race winner Joey Logano and runner-up Brad Keselowski stayed out on old tires under caution on Lap 368 of 400. A subsequent caution on Lap 377, however, gave Logano and Keselowski another chance to come to pit road and put the cars back on equal footing. "There was a moment where the two Penske cars stayed out, and we pitted, and that's where I thought, 'OK, this could be the chance that we have to steal it,'" Hamlin said. "But then we had another caution, and then they came in and pitted with us. We knew we had to do something different to beat those guys. We weren't going to be able to beat them straight up. We had to either beat them off pit road, or we had to be on a different tire strategy. "And the only way to be on a different tire strategy is we were going to have to hope they didn't pit, and they didn't, and my eyes got really big at that moment thinking, 'This could be our chance to level the playing field and race these guys.' But we had another caution, and it kind of screwed all that up." &amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;gt;
Kenseth, Keselowski win Stages 1, 2 at Richmond
RELATED: FAQ for race format " Updated stage points STAGE 2: Brad Keselowski nabbed his first stage win of the year on Sunday afternoon at Richmond International Raceway, winning Stage 2 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series' Toyota Owners 400. The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford led 37 laps in the caution-free stage. Pole-sitter and Stage 1 victor Matt Kenseth, who led all 100 laps of Stage 1, placed second in Stage 2 in his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, leading 63 laps. Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick was third in his No. 4 Ford, while Denny Hamlin's No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was fourth. Kyle Larson and his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet completed Stage 2's top-five finishers. Both Keselowski and Kenseth received race points and the race winner will earn 40 points and five playoff points at the race's conclusion. STAGE 1: Pole-sitter Matt Kenseth led all 100 opening laps of Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway, giving his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota the Stage 1 win. This marks Kenseth's first stage win of the season. Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. drag-raced to the start-finish line for the runner-up spot in Stage 1, with Larson's No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet prevailing by .006 seconds. Truex Jr.'s No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota ended up third. Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick and Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five, respectively. The top 10 finishers in both Stage 1 and Stage 2 receive race points. The race winner will receive 40 points and five playoff points at the conclusion of the Final Stage.
Best 10-lap consecutive averages at Richmond
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Richmond PRACTICE 1: RESULTS Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 5 Kasey Kahne 1 10 119.324 2 95 Michael McDowell 2 11 119.207 3 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 3 12 119.082 4 4 Kevin Harvick 1 10 119.074 5 19 Daniel Suarez # 3 12 118.926 6 32 Matt DiBenedetto 2 11 118.229 7 3 Austin Dillon 9 18 117.340 8 24 Chase Elliott 16 25 116.227 PRACTICE 2: RESULTS Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 77 Erik Jones # 1 10 118.876 2 4 Kevin Harvick 1 10 118.670 3 27 Paul Menard 1 10 118.664 4 37 Chris Buescher 2 11 118.621 5 11 Denny Hamlin 2 11 118.596 6 3 Austin Dillon 2 11 118.584 7 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2 11 118.561 8 20 Matt Kenseth 1 10 118.523 9 31 Ryan Newman 2 11 118.455 10 10 Danica Patrick 2 11 118.404 11 22 Joey Logano 1 10 118.374 12 47 AJ Allmendinger 1 10 118.189 13 34 Landon Cassill 3 12 118.010 14 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 4 13 118.000 15 6 Trevor Bayne 2 11 117.973 16 18 Kyle Busch 2 11 117.915 17 38 David Ragan 3 12 117.789 18 14 Clint Bowyer 2 11 117.677 19 1 Jamie McMurray 3 12 117.664 20 32 Matt DiBenedetto 1 10 117.589 21 19 Daniel Suarez # 2 11 117.587 22 48 Jimmie Johnson 17 26 117.531 23 43 Aric Almirola 1 10 117.522 24 23 Gray Gaulding # 2 11 117.358 25 13 Ty Dillon # 1 10 117.356 26 5 Kasey Kahne 2 11 116.793 27 42 Kyle Larson 14 23 116.467 28 95 Michael McDowell 6 15 116.412 29 41 Kurt Busch 24 33 116.228 30 78 Martin Truex Jr. 21 30 115.958 31 24 Chase Elliott 20 29 115.916 32 2 Brad Keselowski 19 28 115.198 33 51 * Timmy Hill(i) 1 10 113.336 FINAL PRACTICE: RESULTS Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 78 Martin Truex Jr. 1 10 117.521 2 11 Denny Hamlin 2 11 117.384 3 42 Kyle Larson 1 10 117.379 4 20 Matt Kenseth 1 10 117.337 5 24 Chase Elliott 2 11 117.160 6 5 Kasey Kahne 1 10 117.145 7 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1 10 117.038 8 18 Kyle Busch 2 11 116.993 9 14 Clint Bowyer 1 10 116.962 10 1 Jamie McMurray 1 10 116.886 11 48 Jimmie Johnson 1 10 116.856 12 21 Ryan Blaney 1 10 116.847 13 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2 11 116.759 14 77 Erik Jones # 1 10 116.696 15 6 Trevor Bayne 2 11 116.651 16 22 Joey Logano 1 10 116.528 17 2 Brad Keselowski 1 10 116.488 18 3 Austin Dillon 2 11 116.444 19 19 Daniel Suarez # 1 10 116.428 20 43 Aric Almirola 2 11 116.349 21 31 Ryan Newman 2 11 116.263 22 4 Kevin Harvick 1 10 116.206 23 34 Landon Cassill 2 11 116.148 24 47 AJ Allmendinger 2 11 116.140 25 10 Danica Patrick 2 11 116.102 26 95 Michael McDowell 4 13 115.701 27 37 Chris Buescher 1 10 115.700 28 38 David Ragan 3 12 115.398 29 41 Kurt Busch 31 40 114.991 30 13 Ty Dillon # 1 10 114.965 31 32 Matt DiBenedetto 2 11 114.724 32 23 Gray Gaulding # 1 10 114.554 33 27 Paul Menard 28 37 113.997 34 83 * Corey LaJoie # 1 10 113.325 35 15 Reed Sorenson 1 10 113.209 * Car must run 10 consecutive laps on the track to be included in the above chart. *Required to qualify on time, # signifies the driver is a rookie, (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
Jimmie has awesome Monday, more NASCAR tweets
Editor's note: Every Friday during the season, "Tweets You Might Have Missed" presents eight of the best NASCAR-related tweets from the week. Follow @NASCAR 1. Mondays can be pretty awesome. pic.twitter.com/d8KCjwcR2X — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) April 25, 2017 2. Traveling all this week So glad @PaigeKeselowski sent this video of her trying to explain a victory burnout is ok to our 23month old girl pic.twitter.com/q64am8Ei8n — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) April 26, 2017 3. Been up since 4. Woke up like — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) April 25, 2017 4. Congrats to @DaleJr on one helluva run. I didn't think they would announce Carl's return till end of year though? Hmm! — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) April 25, 2017 5. Like father, like son. #Family @chaseelliott @NASCARONFOX pic.twitter.com/30dQWwwxGX — Michael Waltrip (@MW55) April 24, 2017 6. PROTEIN WOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/CZLW3XkpF1 — Matthew DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) April 23, 2017 7. Trying to mind my own business and watch @IndyCar and @NHL but the beer fridge wants to have a staring competition. #maybejust1 pic.twitter.com/PYJlFAxvgO — Regan Smith (@ReganSmith) April 23, 2017 8. Selfie denied. #NASCAR @FOXTV @DaleJr pic.twitter.com/Vz2JD8z9E8 — FOX SPORTS: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) April 24, 2017
What we're thankful for, NASCAR edition
The weather is getting colder, the leaves are changing colors, the days are getting shorter ... and there's no on-track NASCAR action for a while. All of the above means one thing: It's Thanksgiving. Given that this is a time to pause and reflect on the many things for which we are thankful, here are some of the many NASCAR-related things the editorial staff of NASCAR.com are thankful for: We are thankful for ... • Jimmie Johnson . NASCAR is fortunate that one of its greatest drivers is also one of its greatest men. -- Brad Norman • Martin Truex Jr .'s mean air guitar on the NASCAR on NBC intro song of "Bringing Back the Sunshine." Truex showed off his rock star-like ability on the track this season in one of the feel-good stories of 2016. Seeing Truex and girlfriend Sherry Pollex tackle her fight with cancer head-on has been especially impactful for me on a personal level as my mother was recently diagnosed with cancer. -- RJ Kraft • Kyle Larson 's penchant for riding the high line ever-so-close to the wall. It adds an element of edge-of-your-seat excitement to any race where he's running in the front because you never know what's going to happen next. -- George Winkler • Seeing the Tide car ride again at Darlington. -- Kathy Sheldon • Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s positivity and transparency. Not many athletes would let fans and media into a very personal concussion recovery process, but Junior has been as honest and upbeat as ever throughout his healing. His continued presence at the track and positive voice in the sport has been a blessing to us all. – Jessica Ruffin • Jimmie Johnson . Being able to work for NASCAR and have a front row seat to history being made with his seventh Sprint Cup Series championship is something I’ll never forget. I'm in awe of his talent. This must be what it was like working for the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. -- Pat DeCola • SAFER barrier and safety personnel. We haven't stopped writing about injuries, but the instances are much less frequent today. -- Kenny Bruce • Martin Truex Jr ., Sherry Pollex and Barney Visser, who had the courage to do something different and run a race team from Denver. All the time and effort the Furniture Row Racing team puts in is clearly paying off, and I look forward to watching them grow to two teams next season with Erik Jones . -- George Winkler • Night races in the summer heat. -- Kathy Sheldon • Short-track racing. The action at Bristol and Martinsville is typically among the most entertaining of the season. Richmond produced a bump-and-run between teammates in the spring, and Iowa also is a great track. Tempers tend to flare at the smaller venues, and the racing is among the tightest you'll see all season. -- RJ Kraft • Local short tracks. Dirt? Asphalt? Quarter-mile? Three-eighths? Yes. -- Brad Norman • Daytona in February and Homestead in November. There aren't two better places, or tracks, to begin and end a season. All the ones in between? Yeah, they're pretty nice, too. -- Kenny Bruce
NASCAR.com staff predicts 2016 Sprint Cup champion
RELATED: Stats breakdown reveals championship favorite Carl Edwards : Went with the No. 19 as a championship pick on my pre-Chase grid, thinking the postseason schedule lined up favorably. The Championship 4 -- especially this season -- is a toss-up, but Edwards' history at Homestead (two wins, two poles) may tip the scales. -- Zack Albert Joey Logano : The Team Penske driver has been loose and fast throughout the Chase and comes into this weekend's race with much-needed final-round experience. Crew chief Todd Gordon is one of the best. -- Kenny Bruce Jimmie Johnson : Jimmie was my preseason pick to win his seventh championship, and I feel even better about the selection now. No one in his era is better at winning titles and he has shown the ability to do whatever is necessary at Homestead to secure the prized hardware. -- Holly Cain Jimmie Johnson : Now that Johnson has figured out how to outlast his competition in the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format, don't expect him to let a historic seventh championship slip from his grip. -- Pat DeCola Kyle Busch : The Joe Gibbs Racing driver enters with the least amount of pressure as the defending champion, and that should lead to a relaxing and celebration-filled weekend in Miami. -- RJ Kraft Joey Logano : Over the last four races he's won twice, led for 302 laps and has finished no worse than ninth. To say he's on fire is an understatement. -- Maggie MacKenzie Kyle Busch : Let's not overthink this. The defending champion is back in the title race, as the best driver on the best team in NASCAR. He also has been the best driver in the Chase, with six top-five finishes through nine races. Busch repeats. -- Brad Norman Jimmie Johnson : Johnson & Co. showed speed in practice and fought through a tough qualifying session, proving they have the calm resilience -- and long-run speed -- needed to win the coveted title No. 7. -- Jessica Ruffin Carl Edwards : All the reminders of that tiebreaker loss in 2011 have stoked the fire of title desire. Edwards' No. 19 has the speed, and we know JGR equipment is stout. A will and a way combine for a championship. -- Kathy Sheldon Carl Edwards : Sentimentally, I'd like to see him get redemption for 2011 and for Concrete Carl to cement a Hall of Fame-worthy career, but he's also a good pick from a stats perspective. He has the best average finish at Homestead among the Championship 4 drivers and the most career wins there (two). -- George Winkler
Staff picks for Talladega Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race
RELATED: See all the cars lined up for Sunday's race Denny Hamlin : The Daytona 500 winner has experience in getting to Victory Lane at restrictor-plate tracks. If his tendency for sour luck in the Chase -- see last year's odd roof flap issue in this race -- doesn't bite him, Hamlin has a strong shot at advancing with a Talladega win. -- Zack Albert Brad Keselowski : He was backed against a wall in 2014 and came through with a dramatic win to advance in the Chase, and he'll do it again on the heels of winning at Talladega this spring. -- George Winkler Brad Keselowski : Seems like an obvious pick because of Keselowski's two restrictor-plate wins this season coming into Talladega. But the former Cup champ is so good at this form of racing, particularly at Talladega where he got his first career Cup win and three more including this spring. And most importantly ... he needs a good showing to advance in the Chase. This is his race. -- Holly Cain Jimmie Johnson : The man who doesn't need the win -- thanks to his Charlotte victory -- gets the W to lock some strong competition out of the Round of 8. -- RJ Kraft Joey Logano : The talented Team Penske driver hasn't had exceptional results this season, but he's been lurking. We saw what he can do in this round last year, and I think he turns it on when it counts and takes Talladega for the second year in a row. -- Pat DeCola Matt Kenseth : One year after a Round of 12 he'd rather forget, the Joe Gibbs Racing veteran leaves no doubt and secures his second career win at Talladega. -- Brad Norman Make your picks in Streak to the Finish !
Staff picks for Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte
Kasey Kahne : The Coca-Cola 600 is such a different animal that rewards mental acuity, pure tenacity and physical fitness. Kasey Kahne has those qualities and won NASCAR's endurance event three times, and with two top-five finishes already this season, this is where he breaks out of his 59-race winless rut. -- Kathy Sheldon Joey Logano : It'll be a clean Charlotte sweep for Sliced Bread, who got his mojo back during the Sprint All-Star Race. Last week's $1 million win probably felt spectacular -- the feeling may be equal Sunday night when Logano celebrates his biggest NASCAR victory to date. -- Brad Norman Carl Edwards : He's the defending race winner and has posted five straight top 10s at Charlotte. Kevin Harvick is the only other driver who can say that, but the No. 19 pit crew gives him the edge -- by a footlong Subway sandwich at the finish. -- George Winkler Kevin Harvick : This one's an easy pick for me. There's a reason why Harvick sits atop the standings and that's exactly where he'll stay after cruising to another Coca-Cola 600 win. -- Maggie MacKenzie Joey Logano : The most recent Charlotte winner, Logano's No. 22 Ford seems ready for 600 miles of action, as he topped two of the three rounds of qualifying, scoring a second-place starting position. With a fast car and plenty of momentum after his All-Star win, look for the Team Penske driver to punch his ticket to the Chase Sunday with his first '16 victory. -- Jessica Ruffin Martin Truex Jr . : Forget about what has gone wrong late in races for the No. 78 team, Truex has consistently been one of the best on the intermediate tracks this season. The Furniture Row Racing driver will cash in on his pole run and strong pit spot for his first win of 2016. -- RJ Kraft Joey Logano : Becomes first driver to sweep All-Star race and Coca-Cola 600 since Kurt Busch in 2010. Logano drives the No. 22 Ford for team owner Roger Penske, Busch's team owner in '10. -- Kenny Bruce
H2H: Would 600 win mean more to Junior or Busch?
RELATED: Full 600 coverage A winner's trophy for the marathon, reputation-making Coca-Cola 600 is certainly one of the most prized possessions in all of NASCAR. The longest race (600 miles) on the NASCAR circuit is about so much more than just distance, too. There's the history of having such a contest at the 1.5-mile track just north of the Charlotte, North Carolina, NASCAR hub, not to mention this is the only race with three unique sets of elements: A race that starts under the sun, traverses to dusk and ends at night under the lights makes for three time frames with three unique sets of circumstances. Yes, it is truly a battle of man vs. machine. That's what makes it so difficult to win the Coca-Cola 600 , which both Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr . have never done. In fact, neither has won a points-paying event at Charlotte Motor Speedway . So which driver would benefit most from a win Sunday? Brad Norman and George Winkler set out to answer the question. PHOTOS: All of Busch's victories " See Junior's patriotic scheme NORMAN : So sorry, Junior Nation, but Sunday's race is more important to Kyle Busch . "Rowdy" has been on an incredible hot streak since returning from a broken leg last season -- eight wins in 37 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Four of those victories were his first at the tracks in Indianapolis, Homestead, Martinsville and Kansas, respectively. There are only two tracks remaining on the circuit where Busch has not won a Cup race -- Charlotte and Pocono. The career-sweep is a mind-boggling feat, making Sunday's event a massive deal for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. WINKLER: Sure, it would be impressive for Kyle Busch to add to his resume with a victory at Charlotte, but it would be an all-out celebration for Junior to win the Coca-Cola 600 . From downtown Kannapolis, North Carolina, (where Junior grew up) to Charlotte Motor Speedway is just a 25-minute drive, so one can only imagine the type of attention a victory like this would get. Plus, Junior has said repeatedly that winning the Coca-Cola 600 is a top priority of his and one of the gaps he'd most like to fill on his resume. NORMAN : Yeah, it's a big 'un for Junior on a personal level. History is at stake for Busch, though. Not just personal history, either -- team history. Check out some of the most historic races on the NASCAR circuit and their results over the past year -- 2015 Coca-Cola 600 ( Carl Edwards wins); 2015 Brickyard 400 ( Kyle Busch wins); 2015 Southern 500 ( Carl Edwards wins); Homestead finale ( Kyle Busch wins, and wins 2015 championship); 2016 Daytona 500 ( Denny Hamlin wins). JGR has a ridiculous streak at stake in these types of races, too. There's simply way more on the line for both "Rowdy" and the organization at large. WINKLER: See, I think the reverse is true. Because JGR has been so dominant this season, I think it's more important for Hendrick Motorsports , and particularly Junior, to re-establish their mojo. Earnhardt Jr. has wrecked in two of his last three points-paying races, has had some races where he qualified poorly but came through the field and others where he overcame in-race issues and the odds to post top fives. Considering how Junior has battled this season, I think he's tested and ready to fight for the whole 600 miles and be in a good position to win.
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