In two weeks, Joey Logano will go into Talladega breathing a sigh of relief after taking the checkered flag at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford led 227 of the 334 laps on his way to victory in the Bank of America 500. It was his 12th career win, fourth of the season, first at Charlotte and third at the track for Team Penske.
Logano said that the team “had a great car.” He continued, saying, “Todd Gordon and this Shell/Pennzoil team, all of Team Penske, you always want to win it. Charlotte is everybody’s home turf and you want to make it happen here.” Logano also added that the win “makes Talladega way easier. I know that’s on everyone’s mind when this round starts and last year we won Kansas when it was the first race of this round and now we were able to get it this time at Charlotte. We’ll get lots of sleep here the next couple of weeks.”
Kevin Harvick brought his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) Chevrolet to his 11th runner-up finish this season (an average of 36.7 percent). Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and SHR’s Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five.
Carl Edwards, Austin Dillon, Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola rounded out the top-10.
Ryan Newman lumbered his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to a 15th-place finish.
Following contact on pit road under the eighth caution of the race, Kyle Busch finished 20th one lap down.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. made contact with the wall on lap 70, fell back through the race and finished 28th, four laps down.
“I lost count of how many time we hit it (the wall) today,” Earnhardt said. “I don’t know. We had a pretty decent car. Carl (Edwards) got a great run on me down the front straightaway and just drove in there and the left rear quarter-panel, I have to look at that to see whether that was a racing deal or whatever.”
Pole-sitter Matt Kenseth led 72 laps before falling back in the field and slamming the wall multiple times which relegated him to a 42nd-place finish. He was the lowest-finishing Chase driver.
Notable finishes include Greg Biffle, who started fourth, finishing 24th, Jimmie Johnson finishing 39th after blowing an engine with 77 laps remaining and Kasey Kahne who slammed the wall early in the race and finished dead last.
Logano leaves NASCAR’s backyard with a six-point lead over Harvick. Truex Jr. follows seven back. Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards leave tied for fifth at nine points back. Jeff Gordon leaves in seventh place, 11-points back. Brad Keselowski leaves 13-points back.
Ryan Newman is six points behind the eighth-place cutoff. Kyle Busch is 10-points back. Earnhardt Jr. is 19 back and Kenseth is 32 back.
Next week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rolls into America’s heartland for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.