NASCAR

Joey Logano wins Bristol Motor Speedway for second straight year

8-22-joey-logano.png

Joey Logano wins Bristol Motor Speedway for second straight year

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — Joey Logano spoiled what was expected to be a rout by Joe Gibbs Racing at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Logano won the Bristol night race for the second straight year, grabbing the lead on the final restart Saturday night when he zipped past Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski. He had to hold off a handful of challenges from Kevin Harvick, but ultimately cruised to his third win of the year.

Logano has won on a superspeedway in the Daytona 500, on the road course at Watkins Glen and now Bristol's short track. He has won twice this month as he readies for the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

There are two more races before the playoffs begin.

"We are hitting it at the right time, that's for sure," Logano said. "I feel like we are right where we need to be. I can't wait for the Chase to start."

Logano led 176 laps, second only to JGR driver Kyle Busch, who led a race-high 192 laps.

"Our team just executed," Logano said. "That's what we did and that's what we do every week. We just try to keep our heads calm and cool and just run our race."

Harvick finished second for the 10th time this season. The reigning Sprint Cup champion has a career-best 17 top-five finishes this year and had his 250th career top-10 finish in 526 starts.

"Obviously, you want to win races, but we're in position and feel like we can get that momentum swing at any point," Harvick said. "Just really excited to be able to run like this at Bristol. This hasn't been notoriously my best racetrack."

Many believed JGR would pick up its 10th win of the season, particularly after Denny Hamlin, Busch and Carl Edwards swept the top three spots in qualifying. Then Busch won Friday night's Xfinity Series race.

Although Busch dominated early, he had faded a bit as the laps clicked off. Then he was hit with a speeding penalty on the final round of pit stops and finished eighth. Edwards led 74 laps but had a tire go flat when he was out front and it cost him two laps.

"Damn," Edwards said on his radio. "All right, we'll still get this. We've got a good car."

He finished seventh.

Matt Kenseth, the winner for JGR in the spring race at the track, had no chance to sweep the season. An engine issue 177 laps into the race ended his night. He finished 42nd and said he had no warning that his engine was faulty.

"They never warn you, it would be cool if they would send you a text or something," Kenseth said. "It broke in the middle of the straightaway — it had that hop and that noise that it makes when you know you dropped a valve.

That left Hamlin to carry the banner for JGR. He finished a team-best third, but said he just didn't have the same speed as Logano and Harvick. Asked if had expected to see JGR and Toyota celebrating once again, he noted that practicing in the day at Bristol doesn't always translate to the night race.

Still, he said, "Did I expect it? No. But I thought it was probable."

It was shaping up to be a strong night for Michael Waltrip Racing's two drivers, who are both adapting to this week's decision to close the organization at the end of the season. Clint Bowyer has secured his release from his contract and is looking for a new job, along with teammate David Ragan, who has been filling in for Brian Vickers since Vickers was sidelined with health issues.

Both were running in the top-five on a restart when Jimmie Johnson pinched Ragan. As Ragan dipped low to get away from Johnson, Ragan drove directly into Bowyer's path. Bowyer was also hit by Brad Keselowski.

Ragan spun across the track and hit a retaining wall, while Bowyer was able to save his car but still suffered enough damage that he needed to go to pit road for repairs. He restarted 12th, but Ragan was forced behind the wall for extensive repairs.

Bowyer rallied to finish fifth.

Tales of the Turtles 400 coming to Chicagoland Speedway Sept. 17

Tales of the Turtles 400 coming to Chicagoland Speedway Sept. 17

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, titled Tales of the Turtles 400, is coming to Joliet on Sept. 17, Chicagoland Speedway and Nickelodeon announced last week.

It will mark the seventh straight year Chicagoland Speedway will kick off NASCAR's playoffs.

Nickelodeon Sr. Vice President of Sports Marketing Anthony DiCosmo and President of Chicagoland Speedway Scott Paddock joined SportsTalk Live to discuss it all, and even had a few special guests join them as well.

Check it out in the video above.

Kurt Busch steals a monster of a win in Daytona 500

Kurt Busch steals a monster of a win in Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Kurt Busch had a monster start to the season with a last-lap pass to win the crash-filled Daytona 500.

Busch is sponsored by Monster Energy, which kicked off its first season as the title sponsor for NASCAR's top series Sunday with the season-opener. It wasn't NASCAR finest moment, though, as multiple accidents pared down the field and had a mismatched group of drivers racing for the win at the end.

"The more that becomes unpredictable about Daytona, the more it becomes predictable to predict unpredictability," Busch said. "This car's completely thrashed. There's not a straight panel on it. The strategy today, who knew what to pit when, what segments were what. Everybody's wrecking as soon as we're done with the second segment.

"The more that I've run this race, the more that I just throw caution to the wind, let it rip and just elbows out. That's what we did."

It appeared to be pole-sitter Chase Elliott's race to lose, then he ran out of gas. So did Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Paul Menard. As they all slipped off the pace, Busch sailed through for his first career Daytona 500 victory.

It also was the first Daytona 500 win for Stewart-Haas Racing, which is co-owned by Tony Stewart. The three-time champion retired at the end of last season and watched his four cars race from the pits.

"I ran this damn race (17) years and couldn't win it, so finally won it as an owner," Stewart said.

Ryan Blaney finished second in a Ford. AJ Allmendinger was third in a Chevrolet, and Aric Almirola was fourth for Richard Petty Motorsports.

The win was a huge boost for Ford, which lured Stewart-Haas Racing away from Chevrolet this season and celebrated the coup with its second Daytona 500 victory in three years. Joey Logano won in a Ford in 2015.

The first points race of the Monster era was run under a new format that split the 500 miles into three stages. Kyle Busch won the first stage, Kevin Harvick won the second stage and neither was a contender for the win. NASCAR also this year passed a rule that gave teams just five minutes to repair any damage on their cars or they were forced to retire.

But the race was slowed by wreck after wreck after wreck, including a 17-car accident at the start of the final stage that ended the race for seven-time and reigning series champion Jimmie Johnson and Danica Patrick. It was a particularly rough incident for Patrick and her Stewart-Haas Racing team, which had all four of its cars collected in the accident.

"Just seems like that could have been avoided and was uncalled for," Johnson said of the aggressive racing behind him that triggered the accident.