Logano Wins Action-Packed Toyota Owners 400

Logano Wins Action-Packed Toyota Owners 400

by April 27, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

RICHMOND, Va. — In spectacular fashion, Joey Logano claimed his second victory of the year by winning the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

Logano prevailed in a late-race four-car duel between himself, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, and teammate Brad Keselowski to get to victory lane – taking advantage of a tight battle between the aforementioned three drivers to sneak ahead and into the clear.

The win comes as a bit of a surprise for Logano, who historically has not been a strong performer at Richmond.

“I’m more surprised than anyone else here,” Logano said in victory lane. “This is probably one of my worst race tracks – but I guess not today. I told Todd Gordon my crew chief that was the best car I’ve ever had here, it doesn’t even feel like the old Richmond that I’m used to not being good at. We had a really good Shell/Pennzoil Ford. What a crazy finish!”

Logano’s Team Penske stablemate, Keselowski, nearly had a grasp on the victory as he caught a battling Kenseth and Gordon with a handful of laps to go – pulling alongside Kenseth (but not being able to clear him) on the outside. The two drivers would make contact that would slow both cars up, allowing Logano to breeze past. During the cool-down lap, Keselowski expressed his frustrations with Kenseth as he brake-checked the driver of the No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Camry. Keselowski’s post-race action would cause AJ Allmendinger and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to make contact with the rear of Kenseth’s car.

“I had a shot at winning the race,” Keselowski said. “I felt like he [Kenseth] ran me off the track, but you race to win and he was definitely racing to win but you hope that when somebody races to win that they at least win the race if they’re going to wreck you or run you off the race track. It was just a mind-boggling move to me.”

Kenseth defended his late-race defensive driving as maneuvers that he was using to protect a potential win. Kenseth is yet to win a race this season and

“Well I did move up the track in three, but I mean, we were racing for a win,” Kenseth said. “I thought the track was wide enough with how high people would run all the time, I did drive in there and try to give him a slidejob, absolutely. I was trying to watch both lanes and I was trying to win the race, I think that’s what all five of us were trying to do up there.”

The post-race fireworks did not end with just Keselowski and Kenseth. Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears would get into a scuffle in the garage area, leading to a right hook that was thrown by Ambrose connecting with the left side of Mears’ face after Mears grabbed Ambrose seconds earlier. As of the time of this posting, no penalties towards either driver were announced by NASCAR.

After leading the most laps of the race with a total of 173 laps led of 400 laps completed, Gordon turned in a solid performance on Saturday night but came up just short of the victory. Despite just missing out on 89th career Sprint Cup victory, Gordon still has a hold of the lead in the Drivers’ Standings heading into Talladega – a track that he has won at six times in his career.

As the field heads off to Talladega for next Sunday’s Aaron’s 499, one would hope that any grudges gained at Richmond be resolved prior to the cars taking the high banks of the Talladega Superspeedway. With the series heading from a three-quarter mile short track to a 2.66-mile behemoth of a race course where speeds routinely reach over 200 miles per hour, payback at Talladega for actions made at Richmond could be quite costly.

Here’s to kissing and making up.

Top-10 Finishers of the Toyota Owners 400

  1. 22 – Joey Logano – Ford – Team Penske
  2. 24 – Jeff Gordon – Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports
  3. 18 – Kyle Busch – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
  4. 2 – Brad Keselowski – Ford – Team Penske
  5. 20 – Matt Kenseth – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
  6. 47 – AJ Allmendinger – Chevrolet – JTG Daugherty Racing
  7. 88 – Dale Earnhardt Jr – Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports
  8. 31 – Ryan Newman – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
  9. 99 – Carl Edwards – Ford – Roush-Fenway Racing
  10. 78 – Martin Truex Jr – Chevrolet – Furniture Row Racing

Drivers’ Standings after Race 9 of 36

  1. 24 – Jeff Gordon – Hendrick Motorsports – 341 | Leader | –
  2. 20 – Matt Kenseth – Joe Gibbs Racing – 336 | -5 | –
  3. 99 – Carl Edwards – Roush-Fenway Racing – 313 | -28 | –
  4. 18 – Kyle Busch – Joe Gibbs Racing – 310 | -31 | +2
  5. 88 – Dale Earnhardt Jr – Hendrick Motorsports – 309 | -32 | -1
  6. 22 – Joey Logano – Team Penske – 292 | -49 | +2
  7. 2 – Brad Keselowski – Team Penske – 287 | -54 | –
  8. 48 – Jimmie Johnson – Hendrick Motorsports – 282 | -59 | -3
  9. 31 – Ryan Newman – Richard Childress Racing – 272 | -69 | –
  10. 55 – Brian Vickers – Michael Waltrip Racing – 256 | -85 | +3

If Chase Started Today, Who Would Be In? –  Logano, Harvick, Edwards, Ky. Busch, Earnhardt Jr., Keselowski, Ku. Busch, Gordon, Kenseth, Johnson, Newman, Vickers, Biffle, Dillon, Larson, Hamlin.

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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