Kyle Larson got into the wall with two laps left and Joey Logano left him and a confusing and controversial night in his wake to win his first Sprint All-Star Race Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Larson and Logano restarted third and fourth and were among the teams that were required to stay out on old tires while 11 cars pitted for four tires prior to the third segment.
Jimmie Johnson, the leader on the restart, unexpectedly fell off the pace which helped Larson assume the lead, with Logano in pursuit. By the time five laps remained, Larson was experiencing deja vu.
It was the same position the Chip Ganassi Racing driver had been in roughly 12 hours earlier when he outlasted Chase Elliott to win the final segment of the Sprint Showdown.
But Larson’s success from earlier in the day would not be duplicated. The two began racing side-by-side with three laps to go. One lap later, Larson tried a move that had worked on Elliott, using the air off Logano’s right-rear quarter panel to get him loose.
“Joey caught me, he did a really good job of side-drafting me,” Larson told Fox Sports 1. “I just got really loose as soon as I got down into the corner. We were going so fast I couldn’t correct it and drilled the wall.”
Larson fell back to finish 16th while Logano took the point and gave Team Penske its third win in the exhibition race and Logano’s first in six tries.
“This Shell/Pennzoil Ford was fast when we unloaded; we never showed our full potential,” Logano told Fox Sports 1. “Larson is a hard racer. I watched him in the Showdown earlier today and I knew what I was up against. I knew he was gonna run hard. I’m a hard racer, I knew it was gonna be a fun battle for sure.”
The last time Logano was at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he won one of three races in the second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. This time he won $1 million.
“What a crazy battle for a million dollars at the end,” Logano said. “This is the All-Star Race. It’s special just to be in the race. Forget winning it, it’s just special. It’s neat to be in victory lane.”
Logano led 12 laps Saturday night, including the final two.
HOW JOEY LOGANO WON: Logano survived a three-lap duel with Kyle Larson that ended with Larson getting in the wall and Logano driving away uncontested.
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Brad Keselowski led 39 laps and finished second for the second time in the All-Star Race .. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third, his best result in the ASR since finishing second in 2002 … Despite being in a six-car wreck in segment two, Chase Elliott finished sixth in his first ASR appearance … In his second ASR, Trevor Bayne finished seventh … During the break after Segment Two, Carl Edwards was found to have one loose lug nut on his left-front tire. Edwards had to start the final segment from the rear. He raced back to finish fourth as the highest finishing Toyota driver.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Jamie McMurray caused the first caution at the end of Segment 1 when he spun in Turn 2 from a blown rear tire. McMurray finished the night in 17th, three laps down … Matt Kenseth was penalized at the end of Segment One after he failed to make the required green flag pit stop. He was held for a lap by NASCAR. Twenty-three laps into Segment Two, Kenseth was involved in a six-car wreck with Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle and Elliott .. Stewart, in his 18th and final ASR, finished last.
NOTABLE: Logano joins Ryan Newman (2002) and Kurt Busch (2010) as drivers who have won the All-Star Race for Team Penske … Team Penske is the first in the history of the All-Star Race to sweep the top two finishing spots.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT No. 1: “I don’t know how you can get much more compelling racing than what we saw today, so they need to get unconfused and enjoy the racing.” — Brad Keselowski, who finished second. Keselowski helped come up with the race format.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT No. 2 – “It’s the most screwed up All-Star Race I’ve ever been a part of. I’m glad this is the last one.” — Tony Stewart after finishing last following a Segment Two crash.
WHAT’S NEXT: Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 29 at 6 p.m. ET on Fox.