Monday, September 20, 2021

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Joey Logano wins Toyota Owners 400 in mad dash to the checkered flag

Following a restart with only nine laps to go, it’d be a mad dash to the checkered as Matt Kenseth led Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski. While Earnhardt fell back, the beating and banging would commence between Kenseth, Gordon and Keselowski, which allowed Logano to close up on the three of them.

As the pair continued to jostle for the lead between themselves, Logano would sneak by them with a couple laps to go and hold them all off to score the victory in the Toyota Owners 400.

“We had a really good restart and once the 20 (Kenseth) blocked the 2 (Keselowski) on the top, I was able to get through and grab the lead,” Logano said. “What a great race! Great to be back in victory lane.”

It marks Logano’s second victory of the season, therefore locking him into the Chase for the Championship solidly.

“This is probably one of my worst tracks so it feels real good to get a win here,” Logano commented in victory lane. “I told (crew chief) Todd (Gordon) the car felt really good and made me feel that I could do really well at this track.

Jeff Gordon led a race high 173 laps on his way to finishing second after he fended off the charge from behind.

“Restarts were something we wanted to work on as they hurt us last year,” Gordon commented, referring to the fact that he had good restarts throughout the night. “I have a blast tonight. To have a car like that is awesome. We weren’t good on the short run, but rather good on the long run. We just didn’t have it come down our way there at the end.”

Kyle Busch ran just barely inside of the top 10 most of the night, however took four tires under a late caution while the leaders stayed out and was able to drive from 17th to third for his 14th top 10 finish in 19 starts at Richmond.

“Everybody was diving for the bottom and I just drove around the top like a bad mofo,” Busch commented. “We didn’t deserve to finish third but we took a gamble and it almost paid off.”

After beating and banging on each other throughout their battle for the lead, Keselowski finished fourth with Kenseth fifth. Post-race, Keselowski ran into the back of Kenseth, and then proceeded to voice his displeasure on pit road by pointing a finger at Kenseth.

“We had a shot and I felt like he ran me off the track,” Keselowski commented. “Just a mind boggling move to me and uncalled for. Just got to put that in my mind and remember.”

“We were racing for the win and I thought the track was wide enough,” Kenseth said. “Sure, I moved up and gave him a slide job. I was doing whatever to win. Just too bad that he had to tear up our car after the race.”

A.J. Allmendinger finished sixth for his best finish of the year, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt Jr. restarted second on the final restart, but said that he fell back as a result of lack of brakes.

“Brake fluid boiled over under caution and it was all I could do to hold on till the end,” Earnhardt commented. “Just real loose there.”

Ryan Newman finished eighth, followed by Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. Darlington race winner Kevin Harvic finished 11th, followed by Brian Vickers, Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle.

Rookie pole sitter Kyle Larson finished 16th after having to fight back following a lap one spin after he got spun by Clint Bowyer. Bowyer would later apologize for the contact following his problems at lap 160 when he’d blow out a tire, resulting in the rubber catching fire and spreading the fire wider till he was forced behind the wall and out of the race.

“First of all, I want to say sorry to Kyle,” Bowyer started his interview after his problems. “I hate that and didn’t mean it. Him and Keselowski spun the tires and I went down and he was there and I got into him. Guess I got payback with this issue. Didn’t see this coming. Thought we’d contend for the win but this is the story of our year.”

Bowyer wasn’t the only driver who found himslf suffering tire issues as Cole Whitt, Reed Sorenson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. all caught fire as a result of their tire failures. Jimmie Johnson was running inside the top 10, when he had to pit unscheduled at lap 289 for a tire issue, resulting in a 32nd place finish.

Heading into Talladega Superspeedway, Jeff Gordon now leads Matt Kenseth by five points as neither driver has yet to score a victory yet this season.

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