Joey Logano grabs big win at Charlotte to start 2nd round of Chase

0 Comments

Joey Logano dominated Sunday’s Bank of America 500, leading 227 of 334 laps to capture the checkered flag at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

It was Logano’s first career Sprint Cup win at the 1.5-mile track and his fourth of the season.

“You always want to win at Charlotte,” Logano told NBCSN. “It’s everyone’s home turf, everyone lives around here, the race shops are around here, so to be able to win here is a special thing to knock off the bucket list.”

Logano not only takes over the lead in the Sprint Cup standings with the win, he also has an automatic advancement berth to the third round of the Chase.

“It’s nice to get that pressure off and really allow yourself to recharge your batteries before the next round and not have your tongue hanging out just to get through this round,” Logano said. “This is a big weight off our shoulders as a team, and especially as a driver, and it feels really good and to be able to know we’re in the next round.”

Kevin Harvick finished second, followed by Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Austin Dillon, Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski and Aric Almiroa rounding out the top 10.

But it was a bad day for a number of other drivers, including Matt Kenseth (finished 42nd), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (28th) and Kyle Busch (20th), who all had issues that resulted in mediocre to poor finishes, leaving them deep in the Chase standings.

MORE: Results, stats and winnings for the Bank of America 500

MORE: Sprint Cup driver points following Bank of America 500

How did Logano win: Once he got past Matt Kenseth on Lap 77, Logano’s car drove like it was on a rail. The only driver who seemed like he might have anything to challenge Logano was Kevin Harvick. But Harvick could never catch up and wound up finishing second. “We had such a fast car today, leading a ton of laps,” Logano said. “This Shell Pennzoil Ford was unstoppable.”

Who else had a good race: Looking like he did earlier this season, Martin Truex kept digging to wind up third. … The highest-finishing non-Chase driver was Austin Dillon, who had one of the best races of his Sprint Cup career with a seventh-place showing. … Aric Almirola continued his run of strong races, finishing 10th. … Clint Bowyer (11th) and Jamie McMurray (12th), who were both eliminated from the Chase after Dover, also had strong runs.

Who had a bad race: Dale Earnhardt Jr. made contact with Carl Edwards on Lap 73, stayed on the track, and then smacked the wall two laps later with a blown tire. Earnhardt again wrecked on Lap 190 when he hit fluid on the track. He finished 28th. … Matt Kenseth was having a great day until Lap 178, when he had contact with Ryan Newman and slammed the right side of his car into the wall. Kenseth, who led 73 laps early, had to return seven times to pit road for additional repairs. He wrecked yet again on Lap 241, was officially declared out and ultimately finished 42nd. … Kyle Larson was having one of his best runs of the season when he wrecked with Kyle Busch entering pit road on Lap 195. Both cars had moderate damage but were able to continue, even though they both had to come back onto pit road at least two times each to make further repairs. Larson was attempting to come on to pit road, while Busch decided to stay out, faking he was going to pit, and ran into Larson. Busch finished 20th, while Larson finished right behind in 21st. … Kasey Kahne twice hit the wall early in the race after apparent tire issues. He went to the garage after the second incident on Lap 62, his day over. Kahne finished 43rd.

Notable: Joey Logano passed the 1,000 laps led in a season mark Sunday for the first time in his career. And there’s still six races to left for him to add to that total. … Jimmie Johnson’s bad luck struck again. Johnson, who was eliminated from the Chase last week, was running third when he came onto pit road on Lap 267. His crew pushed him to the garage when Johnson suffered a broken oil pump, ending his day with a 39th place finish. … Denny Hamlin battled electrical issues for much of the race, but still finished fourth. … Brad Keselowski drove nearly the last 20 laps with a loose wheel, but still came away with a ninth-place finish. “It was a lot of work,” Keselowski said.

Quote of the day, No. 1: “You do the best you can every week. And if this is the best I can do, it’s amazing I have a job.” – Matt Kenseth after his rough day, including two wrecks that led to an eventual 42nd place finish. Kenseth is now last (12th) in the standings, 45 points behind series leader Joey Logano.

Quote of the day, No. 2: “I lost count how many times we hit (the wall) today. … It ain’t over, but it certainly didn’t help today and that’s not how we want to do it.” – Dale Earnhardt, who finished 28th, four laps down, and finds himself 11th in the standings, 32 points behind series leader Joey Logano.

What’s next: Sunday, Oct. 18 at 2:15 pm ET, Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.

Follow @JerryBonkowski