Long winless drought finally ends for Joey Logano with Talladega triumph

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Joey Logano ended a 36-race winless drought Sunday, claiming victory in the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Kurt Busch finished second, followed by Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as Fords claimed four of the top five spots.

It’s Logano’s third victory at Talladega, all in the past six races at the 2.66-mile oval.

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points standings

“Ford teamwork is what did it today,” Logano told Fox after his 19th career victory. “Not only with the Team Penske Fords but all the Fords out there. Kevin, Kurt and everyone. We worked really well together and got a blue oval in victory lane.

Logano’s No. 22 Ford won for the the first time since April 30, 2017 at Richmond Raceway.

“You’re telling me,” Logano said when told it had been that long. “I know! Man, it feels so good to be back in victory lane. There’s no feeling like this.

“We knew the win was right around the corner. Man, it just feels so good that gosh, we don’t have to worry about the whole playoff things anymore. We’re in, and gosh, that just feels really good.”

The Team Penske driver’s 2017 season spiraled out of control after a postrace violation resulted in NASCAR stripping the playoff berth from the Richmond win.

David Ragan finished sixth, followed by Aric Almirola, Alex Bowman, Ryan Newman and Daniel Suarez.

In his bid for a fourth consecutive win, Kyle Busch finished 13th.

Stage 1 winner: Brad Keselowski

Stage 2 winner: Paul Menard

How Joey Logano won: He led the final 42 laps and controlled the tempo at the front.

Who had a good race: Runner-up Kurt Busch had his first top five of the season. … Third-place finisher Chase Elliott scored his best restrictor-plate finish in 10 starts. … Kevin Harvick (fourth) had his best Talladega finish in seven years. … David Ragan finished  a season-best sixth, his third straight top 10 at Talladega. … Alex Bowman (eighth) notched his third top 10 of the season.

Who had a bad race: Kyle Larson, Erik Jones, Trevor Bayne, Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard, Clint Bowyer, Michael McDowell and William Byron were among those eliminated by two multicar crashes on Lap 72 and on Lap 166.

Notable: The last win for Team Penske was 14 starts ago by Brad Keselowski at Talladega in October 2017. The team has won six of the past eight races at Talladega and has led the most laps in each of the past four restrictor-plate races.

Quote: “Really thought they would want to win a little more than what they did, or at least showed to me.” — Chase Elliott on the lack of drafting help to pass winner Joey Logano in the closing laps

Next: The series heads to Dover International Speedway on May 6 for a 2 p.m. ET start on FS1.