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.

Matt Kenseth: Brickyard 400 restarts ‘kind of ridiculous’

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Matt Kenseth came close to winning Sunday’s Brickyard 400, but ultimately finished fifth.

Kenseth called the race “kind of ridiculous” down the stretch because of the several restarts that brought about further havoc and wrecks.

Kenseth competed in his final Brickyard 400 for Joe Gibbs Racing. With his future uncertain and whether he’ll be able to continue racing in 2018, could Sunday have been the final Brickyard 400 of his career, much like good friend Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is retiring after this season?

Check out the video above for Kenseth’s comments on the race.

Rick Hendrick on Kasey Kahne’s future: ‘Our plans are not set for the No. 5 car’

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INDIANAPOLIS – Brickyard 400 winner Kasey Kahne has a contract for 2018 at Hendrick Motorsports but possibly doesn’t have a job next season.

Team owner Rick Hendrick confirmed Sunday night that “our plans are not set for the No. 5 car” after Kahne ended a 102-race winless streak in the Cup Series.

“There’s nothing concrete or done, and that hasn’t changed,” Hendrick said. “We’ll see how things shake out the rest of the year.  There’s a lot of things involved, sponsors and a lot of things we look at.  We’re going to try hard.  But there’s no decisions made at this time.”

Kahne felt the 18th victory of his career helped him make a case for staying in the No. 5 Chevrolet.

“I think this shows I still want to win races,” he said. “It shows I gave it all that I can to get a win and shows that I’m passionate about driving stock cars, and that I can still win races, too.

“I have a deal through 2018 with Hendrick Motorsports. I hear a lot of things, but it’s tough to say exactly what’s going to happen. I don’t know at this point and time. I know me and Mr. H will figure it out. I think this shows that I want to be and still have the drive and passion to do it, so I’m going to keep trying hard I know that.”

During a Sunday morning pre-race news conference to formally introduce Alex Bowman as the replacement next season for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick said he planned to run four cars next season but deflected a question about Kahne’s status (“that’s for another day”).

Xfinity Series rookie William Byron, who is under contract to Hendrick, would be an option for the No. 5 Chevrolet, but Hendrick said “we’re not ready to cross that bridge yet” when asked about Byron’s Cup future.

Kahne is ranked 22nd in the points standings with only four top 10s in 20 races this season.

“When you’ve had a rough road, your confidence gets down,” Hendrick said. “He said, ‘I know I can do it. The harder I try, the more it seems like I have this rough bad luck.’

“Something like this (win) can be really good for any guy to have, the whole team, to have confidence.  … All I can say about Kasey is he shows up, he shows up on time, and he shows up on time with his game face on, and he puts in the effort. Sometimes it just takes a break.  But he’s done everything.  I know in his heart he wants to do it.  He’s trying, so … ”

Ryan Newman on Brickyard 400: ‘That’s not racing, just craziness’

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Ryan Newman was in the right place at the right time in Sunday’s Brickyard 400, finishing third.

It was Newman’s second-best finish of 2017 after his win earlier this year at Phoenix.

But Newman, who is never afraid to speak his mind, did just that after Sunday’s race. Even with his strong finish, he echoed the comments of several other drivers that the racing action — particularly restarts — by saying, “That’s not racing, just craziness.”

Check out what Newman had to say in the video above.

Joey Logano’s fourth-place finish is bittersweet as playoff chances dip

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Joey Logano had a bittersweet day in Sunday’s Brickyard 400.

He finished a strong fourth in the incident-filled 24th edition of the Brickyard 400. It was just Logano’s second top-five finish and third top-10 showing in the last 11 races.

But there was also bad news, too.

Kasey Kahne‘s win knocked Logano further back in his bid to rejoin the top-16 drivers eligible for the upcoming NASCAR playoffs. With Clint Bowyer dropping out of the top-16 and Kahne moving into playoff contention, Logano has slipped back to 18th place in the playoff-eligible standings.

As a result, Logano all but has to win one of the next six races to qualify for the playoffs — unless he can point his way in with continued strong top-five finishes.

Logano talked about the situation he faces with NBC Sports after Sunday’s race. Click on the above video to see what he had to say.