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Joey Logano Wins Back-To-Back IRWIN Tools Night Races At Bristol Motor Speedway

Joey Logano Wins Back-To-Back IRWIN Tools Night Races At Bristol Motor Speedway

by August 23, 2015 0 comments

Photo Credit: Tyler Goodson

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Joey Logano held off a hard charging Kevin Harvick in the final laps of the IRWIN Tools Night Race to win at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night.

For the second season in a row, it was the Team Penske No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford team celebrating in Victory Lane after the conclusion of Bristol Motor Speedway’s night race. Joey Logano led 176 laps throughout the event and kept defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Kevin Harvick behind him in the final laps.

“It’s cool to win here,” Logano said. “Racing Kevin Harvick clean like that at the end was a lot of fun. It’s so interesting how we ran such different lines and be the same speed on the racetrack.  Interesting how that all works out and that’s what makes Bristol so much fun to go around that you can drive around this place four or five different ways and have a lot of speed no matter how you drive it, it’s what fits your style and what fits the setup of your car.  We both found what works for us, and I really thought we were going to be able to pull away because I thought we were really good in the long run and then we didn’t pull away, and I was like, uh‑oh.  It was just all about working the lapped traffic at the end, not making mistakes and not getting bottled up in traffic and letting him get by.”

Heading into the 2015 season, Logano had eight wins and now he has 11. The 25-year old has been racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since he was only 18-years old and has made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup all three years he has been at Team Penske. So far this season, Logano has three wins, along with 17 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes, placing him second in the championship point standings, just 43 behind Harvick.

“It’s exciting to get a grasp on what his (Joey Logano) potential could be,” said crew chief, Todd Gordon. “He is 25-years old, but he’s much mature beyond that age. Got put in a Cup car at 18, so he’s 25 years old with seven years’ experience of understanding what it takes to be successful, and made the Chase now all three years at Penske.

“And executing. I think you saw that in his Nationwide performances before he got here that he was a closer.  He’s so mature beyond his years at 25, I’m just thrilled what the future brings for us.”

Kevin Harvick who finished second had a very up and down night. He started the race in seventh and ran inside the top-10 for most of the night; however, he did have to overcome two pit road penalties. The first came on Lap 128 when he had too many crewmembers in contact with the pit service area and then again on Lap 362 when he got caught speeding while entering the pits. By the time there were only 60 laps to go, Harvick had made his way back up through the field and was challenging for the race lead.

“I made a mistake there on pit road and got us behind and just didn’t get our Budweiser Chevy through traffic like Joey (Logano) did,” Harvick said. “There were a couple of times when it was pretty close but I wasn’t letting off the gas. I just needed to be a little bit closer to him to make something happen. But all in all, I’m really proud of my team.”

Heading into Saturday night’s event, all eyes were on the Joe Gibbs Racing teams. Pole sitter, Matt Kenseth retired from the event on Lap 110, following a blown engine. Kyle Busch had a fantastic not going for him as he led 192 laps, but on Lap 432, he was penalized for speeding on pit road. The penalty dropped him outside of the top-five and deep into the pack. Busch was able to salvage an eighth place finish. Carl Edwards had a solid seventh place run, and Denny Hamlin brought his No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota home in the third position.

“I had a very average car for most of the night,” Hamlin said. “I thought we were pretty good early, lost the handle on it when the track really got rubbered up a bunch, and then we got better there at the end, but we still just didn’t have the speed to run with the front two guys on that last run. Could hang with them for the first part of the run, but then I couldn’t work traffic that well and those guys were able to get away. Just a decent average day. Definitely not what we expected.”

Jimmie Johnson finished fourth on Saturday night, and Clint Bowyer earned an impressive fifth place finish. Bowyer sits in the ever so important 15th place in the championship point standings. With Kyle Busch currently inside the top-30, Bowyer is in the final transfer spot for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with only two races to go. With the top-five finish, he now leads Aric Almirola by a mere 35 points in the standings.

“This was a big night for us,” Bowyer said. “We needed this. Driver got us behind last weekend after Michigan, but man, when you step up to the plate like this and you’re running at the level that it takes to be a part of the championship caliber elite group like you have in the Chase.”

Rounding out the top-10 was Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Darlington Raceway on Saturday, September 6 for the return of the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend. Coverage for the race will broadcast live on NBC and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 7 p.m. ET.

IRWIN Tools Night Race At Bristol Motor Speedway:

1.) #22 Joey Logano

2.) #4 Kevin Harvick

3.) #11 Denny Hamlin

4.) #48 Jimmie Johnson

5.) #15 Clint Bowyer

6.) #2 Brad Keselowski

7.) #19 Carl Edwards

8.) #18 Kyle Busch

9.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.

10.) #31 Ryan Newman

11.) #1 Jamie McMurray

12.) #51 Justin Allgaier

13.) #3 Austin Dillon

14.) #41 Kurt Busch

15.) #6 Trevor Bayne

16.) #5 Kasey Kahne

17.) #43 Aric Almirola

18.) #9 Sam Hornish Jr.

19.) #14 Tony Stewart

20.) #24 Jeff Gordon

21.) #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

22.) #21 Ryan Blaney

23.) #13 Casey Mears

24.) #27 Paul Menard

25.) #16 Greg Biffle

26.) #47 AJ Allmendinger

27.) #10 Danica Patrick

28.) #78 Martin Truex Jr.

29.) #35 Cole Whitt

30.) #34 Brett Moffitt

31.) #95 Michael McDowell

32.) #7 Alex Bowman

33.) #83 Matt DiBenedetto

34.) #23 JJ Yeley

35.) #32 Josh Wise

36.) #38 David Gilliland

37.) #33 Mike Bliss

38.) #40 Landon Cassill

39.) #98 Timmy Hill

40.) #55 David Ragan

41.) #42 Kyle Busch

42.) #20 Matt Kenseth

43.) #46 Michael Annett

 

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top-16 Driver Point Standings:

1.) #4 Kevin Harvick

2.) #22 Joey Logano -43

3.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. -89

4.) #2 Brad Keselowski -115

5.) #48 Jimmie Johnson -116

6.) #78 Martin Truex Jr. -137

7.) #20 Matt Kenseth -155

8.) #41 Kurt Busch -195

9.) #11 Denny Hamlin -196

10.) #1 Jamie McMurray -212

11.) #31 Ryan Newman -225

12.) #27 Paul Menard -234

13.) #24 Jeff Gordon -236

14.) #19 Carl Edwards -242

15.) #15 Clint Bowyer -253

16.) #43 Aric Almirola -288

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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