BRISTOL, Tenn. It was a clean sweep for Team Penske.
Joey Logano held off Brad Keselowski to win Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway and became the third consecutive Penske driver to win at the fast half-mile track this weekend.
Logano’s teammate, Keselowski, won Thursday’s NASCAR Truck series race and teammate Ryan Blaney won Friday night’s Nationwide Series race.
Logano’s win is his third in the Sprint Cup series this season and puts him in the “three win club” and gives him the chance to begin the championship Chase as the No. 1 seed.
Matt Kenseth finished third, Jimmie Johnson overcame a pair of speeding penalties to finish fourth and Kurt Busch ended up fifth.
Harvick, the pole winner, got off to a strong start and led the first 37 laps until he was passed by Jeff Gordon.
Kyle Busch made his way around Gordon for the lead on Lap 55 shortly before a competition caution was called on Lap 62. Heavy overnight rain washed the rubber from the track and NASCAR elected to give teams a chance to check tire wear.
During pit stops, both Kyle Busch and Johnson were penalized for speeding on pit road. On the restart on Lap 68, Kenseth took over the race lead.
A four-car accident on Lap 69 brought out the second caution of the race. On the restart on Lap 77, Kenseth continued to lead followed by Gordon and Jamie McMurray.
Logano passed Kenseth for the race lead on Lap 104.
A five-car wreck involving Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola, Brian Vickers, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Larson on Lap 125 brought out the third caution of the race. Denny Hamlin elected to remain on the track and took over the lead on the restart on Lap 137 followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Logano.
While racing for the lead on Lap 161, Harvick turned Hamlin, then the race leader, who slid down the track and then back up into Earnhardt to bring out the fourth caution of the race.
“I just wish I had some sort of car left so I could show him the favor back,” Hamlin said of Harvick. “We’re not even halfway, we’re racing for the lead – it’s just a misjudgment.”
Earnhardt said he wasn’t sure how the accident started.
“The first thing I saw was (Hamlin) hitting the inside wall. There was a little bit of smoke so it was tough to judge the speed of his car coming back up the track,” he said. “I thought I could go around the top and be alright, but I guessed wrong.”
On the restart on Lap 173, Harvick led the way followed by Logano and Kurt Busch.
Michael Annett wrecked on Lap 195 to bring out another caution. Kasey Kahne elected not to pit and took over the race lead on the restart on Lap 202, followed by McMurray and Jeff Burton.
McMurray moved into the lead for the first time on Lap 239.
Danica Patrick was spun by Alex Bowman on Lap 264 to bring out the sixth caution. All of the lead lap cars pit for fuel and tires and Keselowski took over the restart on Lap 270 followed by McMurray and Harvick.
McMurray once again moved into the lead on Lap 312.
Debris on the track brought out the seventh caution of the race on Lap 360. All of the lead lap cars pit for fuel and tires with McMurray remaining in the lead on the restart on Lap 367 followed by Logano and Johnson.
Marcos Ambrose wrecked on Lap 376 to bring out another caution. Most of the lead-lap cars elected not to pit and McMurray remained in the lead on the restart on lap 382 followed by Kenseth and Logano.
Debris on the frontstretch brought out the ninth caution on Lap 432. Most of the lead-lap cars pit but four drivers – Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Larson and Paul Menard – stayed out to take the top four positions on the restart on Lap 438. McMurray, the first car to pit, restarted in fifth.
Logano ran down Kenseth and took the lead on Lap 456 but Kenseth and Keselowski remained close behind.
Ut ter: (704) 358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter.
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