Joey Logano goes from last to first for victory at Richmond

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RICHMOND, Va. — Joey Logano rallied from the rear Sunday at Richmond International Raceway, scoring his first victory of the season.

The Team Penske driver won the Toyota Owners 400 after starting last because of a transmission change in his No. 22 Ford.

The 18th victory of Logano’s career came in his 300th start and was his second at Richmond.

You know, it’s nice to break through and get our first points win of the year, that being on the 300th start,” he said. “For me personally, it was kind of a cool milestone to hit and drive into victory lane with that, too.”

A critical pit strategy call helped propel Logano to the victory as crew chief Todd Gordon elected to keep him on the track and gain several positions, gambling on another yellow that came soon afterward.

“I am proud of the effort of the team,” Logano said. “We executed under pressure today and brought a car home that was a 5th-10th place car home to victory lane.”

Teammate Brad Keselowski finished second, followed by Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kevin Harvick.

Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top 10.

STAGE 1: Pole-sitter Matt Kenseth wins his first stage of the season

STAGE 2: Brad Keselowski breaks through for a stage victory

HOW LOGANO WON: He bumped Kyle Larson out of the lead with 17 laps remaining.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD DAY: Teammate Brad Keselowski led 110 laps. … Denny Hamlin rallied from an average starting position (16th) for third. … Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took fourth after causing a caution with a Turn 4 collision on Lap 66. … Daniel Suarez (12th) was the highest-finishing rookie.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Dale Earnhardt Jr. sped in the pits and collided with teammate Jimmie Johnson (who took the blame for the incident). Then he spun and hit the wall again because of another cut tire. … Erik Jones finished last after a a fourth-lap collision with the wall. … A mechanical problem doomed A.J. Allmendinger relegated him to 37th

NOTABLE: Kenseth and Keselowski scored their first stage wins of the season. …  After failing to lead in the first eight races, Kenseth started from the pole position and led 164 laps. … Logano is the fifth driver in series history to win his 300th start, joining Denny Hamlin (Talladega 2014), Kyle Busch (Texas 2013), Kasey Kahne (Charlotte 2012) and Rusty Wallace (Atlanta 1993).

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I got ran right into the wall on Lap 1. We’re three-wide on Lap 1 of a 400-lap race.” – Erik Jones after cutting a tire from a first-lap skirmish with Kasey Kahne.

WHAT’S NEXT: Geico 500, Sunday, May 7, Talladega Superspeedway.

Kyle Larson moving on from Bristol finish, looking to win again at Richmond

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After losing the lead with six laps to go and finishing second to Kyle Busch at Bristol, a frustrated Kyle Larson headed back to his motorhome.

He was greeted by son Owen, who had a question for him.

“Did you get me some Skittles?’ ‘’ Owen asked.

Even though the candy sponsors Busch, Larson admits he managed to smile at his son’s request.

‘That wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but it kind of lightened the mood, so it helps to get over it a little bit,’’ Larson said Friday at Richmond Raceway.

The runner-up finish for Larson marked the third time he’s finished second to Busch in a Cup race (2014 Auto Club Speedway, 2017 New Hampshire and 2018 Bristol).

Larson enters this weekend having won the most recent race at Richmond. He took the lead from Martin Truex Jr. with five laps to go on pit road and held on in overtime to win in September.

“Typically this hasn’t been a good race track for me, but for whatever reason, the last time we were here we were about a top-three car all race long,’’ said Larson, who starts tonight’s race fifth. “Truex was really fast. But, I was a little bit lucky there at the end with a caution to beat him off pit road and get the win. I think that adds a little bit of confidence coming back here.

“Even though I’ve struggled in the past, I enjoy this track because it is different than what we typically go to.”

Larson enters the weekend with three top-three finishes this season, including the Bristol result.

“I feel like our short track program has become really competitive over the last few years,’’ he said. “Aside from Martinsville, I don’t even know if our package is good or bad there; I think I’m just not very good there. But, for us to get a couple top-two finishes here at Richmond now the last couple of years, at a track that I struggle a lot at, I think says a lot about our short track program. Even Bristol, I think Bristol is my best race track, but a few years ago I would just kind of run around eighth to 12th. But now lately, I’ve been able to lead the most laps and get close to wins.’’

Larson’s Bristol race also included a spin after contact with Ryan Newman but Larson doesn’t blame Newman for the incident.

“I get along with Newman,’’ Larson said. “The line that I run in (Turns) 3 and 4 throughout a run is really fast, but I can get myself in trouble if people poke their nose in on me. That’s the second time I’ve gotten spun by running that line, so I think I just need to be a little more cautious. I don’t think he did anything wrong there. It was getting somewhat toward the end of the race. You’re trying to race for lead-lap spots. So, I cut it a little too close, I think, and ran across his front end.”

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Results, point standings after Xfinity race at Richmond

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Christopher Bell led a race-high 120 laps to win the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway. It’s his second career Xfinity win.

Bell beat Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Noah Gragson, Elliott Sadler, Matt Tifft and Austin Cindric.

Elliott Sadler won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

Click here for the race results.

Points

Elliott Sadler continues to lead the point standings through eight races. He has a 29-point lead over Bell.

Completing the top five is Tyler Reddick (-31 points), Daniel Hemric (-38) and Justin Allgaier (-48).

Click here for the point standings.

Christopher Bell wins Xfinity race at Richmond

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Christopher Bell fended off teammate Noah Gragson to break through and win his first Xfinity race of the year Friday night at Richmond Raceway.

Bell led the final 79 laps around the .75-mile track to score his second career win. He had finished in the top five in four of the first seven races this season.

“That was pretty special there, buddy,” Bell told Fox Sports 1. “Had to work for it. My teammate was really good and I knew throughout both practices that both of our cars were going to be really strong. Joe Gibbs Racing has been producing really, really fast Camrys for last couple of weeks and it’s really shown.”

Gragson placed second in his first career Xfinity start. He bounced back from an uncontrolled tire penalty early in the race.

He hounded Bell for much of the last 15 laps, but could never pull even with him.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Gragson told FS1 of his first series start at the short track. “I found a little something in the track, a little speed there at the end of the second stage on old tires. I kept it in my memory bank until the end and I told me team, ‘I got something, when it’s time to go tell me when.’ About 18 to go, I told them, ‘Can’t wait any longer, I don’t have any more patience.”

Gragson, who drives full-time in the Camping World Truck Series, led 10 laps.

The top five was completed by Elliott Sadler, Matt Tifft and Austin Cindric.

With his third-place finish, Sadler won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

Bell, Sadler, Tifft and Cindric will be eligible for the third Dash 4 Cash bonus next week at Talladega.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Daniel Hemric

STAGE 2 WINNER: Elliott Sadler, first stage win of season

MORE: Race results, points

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Austin Cindric earned his first career top five after starting from the rear for an unapproved adjustment … Matt Tifft earned his fourth career top five … Ryan Truex placed seventh to give Kaulig Racing its fourth top 10 of the year. It earned five last year … Jeremy Clements placed eighth, earning his first top 10 since he won at Road America in August.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: After winning Stage 1, Daniel Hemric lost his right front tire with three laps to go in Stage 2, but made it to the end. He finished 29th, four laps down … Justin Allgaier spun after ramming into the back of Spencer Gallagher with 86 laps to go. Chase Briscoe was also received damage in the incident. Allgaier finished 14th. Briscoe placed 26th.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “My wife’s already spent it.” – Elliott Sadler to FS1 after winning the Dash 4 Cash bonus.

WHAT’S NEXT: Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway at 3 p.m. ET on April 28 on Fox.

Starting lineup for Cup race at Richmond

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Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott will start on the front row for Saturday night’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway.

Truex won his third pole of the season.

The top five is completed by Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.

Kyle Busch, who is trying to win a third consecutive race, qualified 32nd.

Click here for the starting lineup.