It was a wild late race restart that saw several cars beating and banging in the closing nine laps and Joey Logano prevailed to win his fifth career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory and second of the 2014 season. Logano passed Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, and Jeff Gordon in the last five laps to get the victory as the three drivers ahead of him beat and banged for position. It's the first time in Logano's career that he has won multiple races in a season.
Finishing second was Jeff Gordon with Kyle Busch coming home third after restarting 15th with fresh tires on lap 392 of 400. Brad Keselowski finished fourth and Matt Kenseth finished fifth. Finishing in the sixth position was A.J. Allmendinger with Dale Earnhardt Jr finishing seventh, Ryan Newman coming home eighth, Carl Edwards ninth, and Martin Truex Jr finished in the tenth position.
Kevin Harvick finished 11th, with Brian Vickers in 12th, Jamie McMurray in 13th, Kasey Kahne in 14th and Greg Biffle in 15th. Finishing in the 16th position was Kyle Larson with Aric Almirola finishing 17th. Marcos Ambrose finished 18th, with Casey Mears finishing 19th and David Gilliland rounded out the top 20.
After the race Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears had an altercation in the garage area where Mears grabbed onto Ambrose as the two were having words and then Ambrose hit Mears with a punch to the left side of his face.
The race began with Kyle Larson on the pole and Brad Keselowski on the high side. Larson would spin off the front bumper of Clint Bowyer in Turn 1 on Lap 1 bringing out the races' first caution flag. Larson wouldn't receive damage in the accident as he kept his car from nosing into the outside wall. The race was slowed nine total times for 66 laps with most of the cautions coming out for drivers experiencing right front tire issues after about 50 green flag laps.
Cole Whitt would be the first driver to have the right front tire issue. Rubber from the tire would catch fire and Whit ended up finishing in 41st, 33 laps down. Clint Bowyer would have the same issue as Whitt and his car would catch fire and Bowyer would be done for the day after the accident. Bowyer finished 43rd. Reed Sorenson was the next to experience the issue as he brought out the caution on lap 227 and his car would catch fire. Sorenson finished 42nd. Ricky Stenhouse Jr had the same tire and fire issue and he finished 38th. Jimmie Johnson experienced two tire issues throughout the race, the first which he pitted under green for caught him a lap down and then another was a blown tire on lap 368 which brought out the seventh caution. Johnson finished in 32nd four laps down.
The race was dominated on long runs by Jeff Gordon as he led 173 of the races 400 laps. Brad Keselowski led 114 laps with Logano leading 46, Kenseth leading 35 and Harvick leading 23 laps. Dale Earnhardt Jr led seven laps with Travis Kvapil and Landon Cassill each leading one lap in the event. Kvapil finished 36th and Cassill 26th.
The race restarted with 24 laps left after the caution for Johnson and that is when the eighth caution flew when Virginia native Denny Hamlin spun on lap 377 He was on the high side and his teammate Kyle Busch got into the back of him as things stacked up. Busch was pushed by Justin Allgaier into Hamlin. Hamlin would continue and finished 22nd and Allgaier took 21st.
The races' ninth and final caution came on lap 385 when J.J. Yeley's engine let go. Yeley finished 40th.
The race restarted on lap 392 with Matt Kenseth on the low side and Earnhardt on the outside. Gordon was third on the restart and Logano was fourth on that restart. Brad Keselowski and Logano had the best cars on short runs and it was Keselowski who surged to take the battle to Kenseth and Gordon who had gotten away in the lead as Earnhardt dropped back saying after the race he was having break issues.
Kenseth made his car as wide as possible and eventually contact was made between Kenseth, Keselowski, and Gordon which allowed Logano to take advantage and pounce on the situation. He took the lead on the inside on lap 397 and when Keselowski hit Kenseth in the rear it allowed Logano to get away and Gordon to move to second. The 23-year-old Logano would win from there.
Other notables in the field included Kurt Busch in 23rd, Tony Stewart was the only car one lap down in 25th, and Austin Dillon was in 27th. Danica Patrick finished 34th five laps down.
Logano has become the second driver in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season to win two races, joining Kevin Harvick. Logano is the Chase's top seed currently with Havick second because Logano is sixth in points and Harvick is 20th. Other drivers with a victory in the 2014 season include Dale Earnhardt Jr, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch. Those five drivers are a next in line for Chase berths as a win virtually locks you into the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Jeff Gordon is atop the point standings with Matt Kenseth five points behind in second. The next driver in the points without a victory is Jimmie Johnson who is 59 points back of Gordon. Ryan Newman is next in line 69 points behind with Brian Vickers, Greg Biffle and rookie Austin Dillon next. Rookie Kyle Larson is next in line followed by Denny Hamlin. Those drivers hold a current Chase position.
The next race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule is the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, May 4th.Tags: Brad Keselowski, Casey Mears, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Marcos Ambrose, Matt Kenseth, Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
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