Kevin Harvick gave it all he could, but Joey Logano had enough to withstand the challenge to win Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Logano, who led 176 laps, defended his win in this race at Bristol from last summer.
It was Logano’s third win of the season and second triumph in the last three races.
Harvick finished second, followed by pole-sitter Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, and Clint Bowyer.
How Logano won: Logano did an excellent job of holding off Harvick in the closing laps, alternately going high and then diving down low in front of Harvick to block him. Harvick tried to make the low line work, but Logano stayed high as much as possible, dipping down low only to block Harvick. They had a number of close calls but did not make contact in the final laps.
Who else had a good race: Points leader Kevin Harvick scored his 10th-runner-up finish of the season. It also is Harvick’s career-high 17th top-five finish. … Clint Bowyer didn’t let the news this week that he’d be leaving Michael Waltrip Racing at season’s end prevent him from having one of his best runs of the season. … Kyle Busch led the most laps (192).
Who had a bad race: Matt Kenseth’s bid to sweep both 2015 races came to an end on Lap 111 when his engine let go. Kenseth finished 42nd. … Kyle Larson, who was as high as second in the first half of the race, twice cut down tires and hit the wall. Larson finished 41st. … AJ Allmendinger made contact with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., spun and hit the wall on Lap 147. Allmendinger finished 26th. … David Ragan was running fourth on Lap 371 when Jimmie Johnson cut down on him, forcing Ragan into the car of teammate Clint Bowyer and then into the wall. Ragan’s car suffered extensive damage, leaving him with a 40th-place finish.
Notable: Kevin Harvick was penalized for speeding on pit road and for his crew going over the wall too soon. … Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch all suffered loose wheel issues at various points during the race. … The younger Busch brother was also caught speeding on Lap 432, which knocked him from as high as second to 14th.
Quote of the day: “They never warn you, it would be cool if they would send you a text or something,” Matt Kenseth on how the engine in his car broke without any warning.
What’s next: The Sprint Cup Series will enjoy its final off-weekend of the season next week, returning Sept. 6, for the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.