After starting the race in the rear of the field because of a transmission change to the Team Penske No. 22 car on Saturday, Joey Logano found his way to the front and won Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. This was Logano’s second career win at Richmond in his 300th career start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“Coming from the back, being the 300th start and pulling into victory lane, man that feels good,” said Logano. “I drove my guts out there. We ended up with the winning car, something I’m really proud of.”
Jimmie Johnson made contact with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 56 laps remaining. Johnson’s team had to make extensive repairs to his race car and finished in 11th-place while Earnhardt Jr. finished 30th.
“I just have to try to figure out if I just didn’t hear it being told to me or if it wasn’t told to me. I just feel terrible, obviously. Man, I’m surprised our cars even kept rolling after that because I just body slammed him into the wall and I could have easily not heard the clear or something else happened. I don’t know, but that’s the last thing you want to have happen with a teammate,” Johnson said.
“He said he didn’t see us. He had pitted and got tires and we were out there running around the top and weren’t ready to pit yet. He said he didn’t get any notice that he had a car outside. He was coming to pass me. I was running the top right against the fence and really wasn’t watching the mirror, so I didn’t know he was there or anybody was coming,” Earnhardt commented about the contact.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made contact with the outside wall early in the race but battled back to earn his second top-five finish of the season.
“Man, we had to fight hard for this top five. I made a mistake early. I thought we were capable of running in the top five a lot. I just got loose into 3 and got into the fence and had to play catch-up for there.”
Virginia’s own Denny Hamlin led the field for 59 laps en route to his fourth top-10 finish of the season.
“We couldn’t beat the 2 (Keselowski) and 22 (Logano) straight up, so it’s different and you just keep coming in and pitting for tires to try to steal one even though we were a third-place car. The strategy got all mixed up there and we were luckily able to get back up there and finish where we should have.”
Matt Kenseth captured his first pole of the season and the 19th of his Cup career, leading 164 laps and scoring his first stage win this season. A cut tire on lap 364 forced him to pit road for repairs and he went a lap down. Kenseth was the benefactor of the lucky dog and got his lap back, but finished in 23rd place.
Jamie McMurray led the way for Team Chevy with a sixth-place finish.
“I didn’t have any problems. It was really a normal race. The cautions at the end helped us on one and hurt us on one. But overall it was a really good day.”
Newman finished in seventh-place and captured his third top-10 this season.
“It was a good day for this No. 31 team. We got to lead laps and contend for the race win so that’s all I can really ask for. I’m just proud of how we were able to improve on our Okuma Chevrolet all weekend long.”
Kyle Larson finished 14th but continues to lead the standings by 40 points over Martin Truex Jr. after the first nine races.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway at 2 p.m. ET on FOX.