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.

NASCAR Awards: Scene on the red carpet

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NASCAR community gathered at the Music City Center to commemorate the 2022 season and celebrate Joey Logano‘s second Cup title.

The event can be seen at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock.

Here is a look at the scene on the red carpet before Thursday night’s NASCAR Awards:

Joey Logano and Brittany Logano (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Ryan Blaney and Gianna Tulio (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kyle and Samantha Busch (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Chase Elliott (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Alex Bowman and Crystal Marsh (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Tyler Reddick and Alexa De Leon (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Denny Hamlin and Jordan Fish (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Daniel Suarez and Julia Piquet (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Chase Briscoe and Marissa Briscoe (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Christopher Bell and Morgan Bell (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Austin Dillon and Whitney Dillon (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kyle Larson (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

William Byron and Erin Blaney (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kevin Harvick (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Ross Chastain and Erika Turner (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Austin Cindric (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kurt Busch (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Harrison Burton and Jenna Petty(Photo: Dustin Long)
Mario Andretti (Photo: Dustin Long)

Chase Elliott wins NMPA Most Popular Driver Award

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Chase Elliott won his fifth consecutive NMPA Most Popular Driver Award on Thursday.

The announcement was made during the NASCAR Awards at the Music City Center. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock.

Elliott is one of only five drivers to win the award since 1984.

Bill Elliott won it from 1984-88, 1991-2000 and 2002. Dale Earnhardt won the award posthumously in 2001. Darrell Waltrip won it in 1989-90. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won it from 2003-17. Chase Elliott has won it every year since.

Noah Gragson was voted as the Most Popular Driver in the Xfinity Series. Hailie Deegan was voted as the Most Popular Driver in the Camping World Truck Series.

Kevin Harvick to make decision on future by Daytona in February

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Former Cup champion Kevin Harvick says he’ll know by Daytona in February his plans beyond 2023.

Harvick’s contract with Stewart-Haas Racing ends after the upcoming season. 

Harvick said Thursday before the NASCAR Awards that “it could go either way at this particular point” on what he’ll do, but he affirmed that “going into Daytona, I’ll know what I’m going to do.”

The Daytona 500 is scheduled for Feb. 19. Harvick anticipates making an announcement by then.

“We’re at a point where everybody needs to know what’s going on,” Harvick said. “There’s too many tentacles to everything that happens. Whether it’s the race team, driver management company, every element needs to know. It’s not fair to anybody to have to start the season not knowing.”

Harvick turns 47 on Dec. 8. Next season will be his 23rd in Cup. His debut came a week after Dale Earnhardt’s fatal crash in the 2001 Daytona 500. Harvick was selected by car owner Richard Childress to drive for Earnhardt’s team. 

Harvick has gone to win the 2014 Cup championship and 60 races at Richard Childress Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing. He’s tied with Kyle Busch for ninth on the all-time Cup wins list.

Harvick won two races last season. His victory last August at Michigan snapped a 65-race winless streak. He followed that by winning the next weekend at Richmond. 

Harvick has won at least two races in nine of the past 10 seasons. He has scored 41 of his 60 Cup wins since he turned 37 years old.

“Kevin, I think, is probably the No. 1 leader of the drivers, as he should be,” two-time Cup champion Joey Logano said Thursday. “He’s been around the longest. He’s very accomplished. He’s very smart. He’s been through the ups and downs. He’s lived it. There’s wisdom in experience. It’s great to hear his opinion on where we are as a sport.”

Harvick’s business interests include a management company that represents Cup drivers Ryan Preece, Harrison Burton and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., along with other athletes. Harvick also has worked as a broadcaster on NASCAR Xfinity races for Fox Sports, earning positive reviews. 

Harvick’s son Keelan, who is 10 years old, races and has competed in karting in Europe. 

“He’s got one more race in Italy … and then we’ll start all over again,” Harvick said of his son.

Harvick went overseas after the season finale at Phoenix to watch Keelan race.

“I think he’s definitely matured a little bit since he’s been making these trips,” Harvick said. “I think it’s important to have that culturing aspect of life to be comfortable to do things like that anywhere in the world.”

The NASCAR Awards program airs at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, Dec. 3 on Peacock. To sign up for Peacock, go here.

BJ McLeod, Live Fast team move to Chevrolet

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Driver/owner BJ McLeod and Live Fast Motorsports will race in Chevrolets beginning with the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Based in Mooresville, North Carolina, Live Fast has been a Ford team.

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Live Fast is owned by McLeod, Matt Tifft and Joe Falk. Jessica McLeod, BJ’s wife, is the team’s chief operating officer.

“Our team is excited to make this transition to Chevrolet,” BJ McLeod said in a statement released by the team. “Chevrolet Camaros have proven great success on the track, and Live Fast Motorsports is looking forward to becoming a part of this advance.”

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The team will use ECR engines.

McLeod had one top-10 finish in 29 starts in the Cup Series last season.