NASCAR

Joey Logano wins at Watkins Glen, saves fuel this time

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Joey Logano wins at Watkins Glen, saves fuel this time

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) -- Joey Logano kept his foot on the gas pedal a little bit longer than usual after taking the checkered flag at Watkins Glen International, a huge cloud of smoke wafting toward victory lane.

This time he had more than enough left in the tank of his No. 22 Ford.

"It makes up a lot for last week," Logano said Sunday after notching his first Sprint Cup victory on a road course and second of the season. He also won the season-opening Daytona 500.

"It's nice it played out this time. We may not have had the fastest race car, but the execution of the day is what won us this race. What goes around comes around, I guess."

A week after running out of gas while leading at Pocono with three laps to go, Logano passed Kevin Harvick on the final turn of the 90-lap race as Harvick ran dry.

Logano completed the first NASCAR weekend sweep at the track after winning the Xfinity race Saturday. He also gave Roger Penske his first Cup victory at The Glen.

"It means an awful lot to Team Penske," team vice chairman Walt Czarnecki said. "I believe this is our winningest track in the whole history of our company going back to the Trans-Am and Can-Am, so this is particularly meaningful for us."

Kyle Busch, who ran out of fuel on the last lap at Pocono while leading, finished second and moved to 30th in points, the cutoff to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup title as he continued his remarkable surge.

"I had a chance. I could've raced the 22," said Busch, six points ahead of Cole Whitt and just one behind Justin Allgaier. "I felt like I was better than he was, but my crew chief (Adam Stevens) called in scared on the fuel situation from last week and I don't blame him. We didn't want to do the same thing."

Harvick coasted home third, Matt Kenseth was fourth, and Kurt Busch fifth. Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Sam Hornish Jr. and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top 10.

Tony Stewart, who qualified third, was competing at Watkins Glen for the first time after missing the previous two Cup races at the track. He was nursing a broken right leg two years ago and sat out last year's race after the sprint car he was driving in a race at nearby Canandaigua struck and killed 20-year-old driver Kevin Ward Jr. the night before Stewart was scheduled to race at Watkins Glen.

On Friday, Stewart again had to revisit that tragedy. Attorneys representing the Ward family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Stewart, another hurdle in what has been a season without much hope until recently, and Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of Ward's death.

Stewart, a five-time winner at The Glen, was greeted warmly by fans during driver introductions but finished last after his car broke a rear gear midway through the 90-lap race.

In the last road race of his NASCAR career, Jeff Gordon had brake problems and finished 41st to take another big hit in points.

The race turned on strategy. Martin Truex Jr., who started second, pitted after a red flag just past the midpoint of the race as the top drivers stayed out.

Harvick, who pitted two laps before Truex, then gained the lead on a restart on Lap 61, passing Kenseth and pulling out to a lead of over a half-second with Truex third.

Harvick's crew told him he was two laps short on fuel as the race wound down, but he did enough conserving to salvage a podium finish.

"I thought I'd done a pretty good job of saving fuel under the caution," Harvick said. "Really, I was just running as fast as I needed to. Once the 22 got there, I had to pick up the pace."

Truex's chances disappeared when he suffered a flat left front tire and was forced to pit with 22 laps left around the 2.45-mile natural terrain course. He finished 25th.

Busch had to pit from the lead with just over 30 laps left and dropped deep in the field. He then steadily mounted an aggressive charge back and got past Harvick for second after the final turn.

"I ran hard that whole run," said Busch, who has won four races since coming back from a broken leg and foot suffered in an Xfinity race at Daytona in February that forced him to miss the first 11 races of the Cup season. "I never quite got close enough to him. I couldn't afford to run out of gas."

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.