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Joey Logano takes Sprint Cup victory at Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. — Joey Logano had a great view of a wild finish Saturday until he saw an opening and made it wilder.

Logano took advantage of a three-car duel by sneaking below three former Sprint Cup champions to take the lead, outrunning Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski to win the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

Logano's first career victory on the 0.75-mile oval came seemingly from nowhere after a restart with nine laps left. He sat fourth and on the outside with Kenseth leading, Dale Earnhardt Jr. alongside in second and Gordon, who had the dominant car for most of the night, on the inside in third.

When Gordon, Kenseth and Keselowski raced in a triangle jockeying for position, Logano passed all three with three laps to go and held off Gordon for his fifth career Cup victory.

"I'm more surprised than anyone else here," Logano said. "This is one of my worst tracks. … What a crazy finish."

It was his second win this season, and it virtually clinched him a spot in the 16-driver Chase for the Championship. Under the this year's new format that rewards victories first, he'll be in the Chase as long as he starts all the races.

Gordon said the three-way battle helped create the opening for Logano. "I was really just trying to battle with those guys to get the best finish that we could," Gordon said. "(Logano) was in a great position while we were all sitting there sliding around battling it out. To come home second is still a great finish."

Kyle Busch was third, followed by Keselowski and Kenseth.

"That last restart was intense. … I just drove by everybody," Busch said.

Kenseth and Keselowski had words postrace.

"I had a shot at winning the race and felt like he ran me off the track," said Keselowski, who had the fastest car on short runs. "You race to win, and he definitely was racing to win, but you hope when somebody races to win that they at least win the race if they're going to wreck you or run you off the racetrack."

Also, Fox showed a postrace incident behind pit road in which Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears got into a shoving match and Ambrose threw a punch at Mears before crew members intervened.

Kenseth had come from nowhere after lurking in the back of the top 10 all race, suddenly charging through the field and passing Gordon to grab the lead with 38 laps to go.

"I was trying to win the race. I think that's what all five of us were trying to do," Kenseth said.

Gordon led 173 laps, but after the final restart Team Penske teammates Logano and Keselowski became the ones to watch.

Signs of the wild ending may have come very early.

Clint Bowyer — at Richmond for the first time since his controversial intentional spin at the track in September — started third and spun out rookie pole-sitter Kyle Larson on Lap 1. Bowyer also twice pitted under a green flag, right before a caution came out, and was battling Danica Patrick for 38th place when an engine fire caused him to park. He was last in the 43-car field.

Sprint Cup points

After nine of 26 races. Sixteen drivers will make the season-ending Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts. Back

Jeff Gordon 341—

Matt Kenseth 336 5

Carl Edwards* 313 28

Kyle Busch* 310 31

Dale Earnhardt Jr.* 309 32

Joey Logano** 292 49

Brad Keselowski* 287 54

Jimmie Johnson 282 59

Ryan Newman 272 69

Brian Vickers 256 85

Greg Biffle 256 85

Austin Dillon 252 89

Kyle Larson 251 90

Note: Kevin Harvick (two wins) has clinched a Chase bid as long as he starts each race.

* — Has a win. ** — Has two wins.

Points unofficial; NASCAR posts official results Monday

Up next

Aaron's 499, 1 p.m. May 4, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway

TV/radio: Ch. 13; 102.5-FM

Joey Logano takes Sprint Cup victory at Richmond 04/26/14 [Last modified: Sunday, April 27, 2014 12:11am]
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