He’s Back: Logano Grabs First Win in a Year at ‘Dega

Joey Logano won the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway after leading 70 of 188 laps. It’s Logano’s first win in nearly a year. The race featured six cautions, 25 lead changes, and two multicar incidents.

When the green flag went in the air, it was polesitter Kevin Harvick who jumped out front. Top five starter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ended up hung on the outside, sending him all the way outside the top 20. The field quickly strung into a single-file train, similar to the XFINITY race on Saturday. On lap 13, the about half the field came down to pit for fuel, and a few more came the next lap. Kurt Busch got hit with a speeding penalty, as did David Ragan. Clint Bowyer pitted a second time for a tire issue, but the race stayed green. Alex Bowman assumed the lead, followed by others who hadn’t pitted yet. With around 15 to go in stage one, Bowman got passed by Darrell Wallace Jr. for the lead as Bowman tried to lap Erik Jones. With 12 to go in stage one, those that hadn’t pitted yet came down, handing the lead to Brad Keselowski. Keselowski would win the stage uncontested. Under caution, those that pitted on laps 13 and 14 pitted again, while the others stayed out.

On the lap 62 restart, Brad Keselowski jumped away and William Byron charged to the back of him with a head of steam, taking the lead from Keselowski. Keselowski took it right back, though, showing the rookie a thing or two. On lap 12 and 13 of stage one, nearly everyone pitted for fuel, and Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Daniel Suarez, and Alex Bowman were caught for speeding on pit road. Matt DiBenedetto, though, stayed out and inherited the lead. Before DiBenedetto pitted, chaos ensued as Erik Jones and Jamie McMurray came together, collecting Trevor Bayne, Martin Truex Jr., and Kyle Larson. DiBenedetto pitted under yellow, handing the lead over to Joey Logano.

On the lap 79 restart, Logano jumped away easily, followed by Paul Menard. On lap 96, Denny Hamlin grabbed the lead away from Joey Logano as Brad Keselowski got loose. With only a handful of laps remaining in stage two, Paul Menard grabbed the lead from Hamlin after racing side-by-side with him for several laps.The field organized single-file and Menard took home the stage win. On pit stops, Kyle Busch got caught for speeding on pit road. Coming off pit road, it was William Byron, who took no tires, followed by Ryan Blaney and Paul Menard.

The race restarted on lap 116, and William Byron jumped away as the outside lane fell back several carlengths. Around ten laps later, Kurt Busch grabbed the lead from Byron. With about 60 laps left, as the field went single file, the caution came out for debris near the start finish line. On pit stops, Ricky Stenhouse took the lead by taking no tires. Chase Elliott was each busted for uncontrolled tires.

The next restart came with 55 to go, and Ricky Stenhouse cleared Denny Hamlin for the lead. Denny Hamlin caught Stenhouse in the middle and got by him, and a third lane formed. Joey Logano charged by Hamlin not long after. When the field pitted with 44 to go, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Daniel Suarez were caught for speeding on pit road and Kasey Kahne inherited the lead. Hamlin sped again on his drive-through penalty, falling a lap down. With 34 laps remaining, the caution came out as Timmy Hill had an engine failure. Under caution, the leaders stayed out, but much of the back half of the lead lap came down pit road to get tires and fuel. Martin Truex Jr. sped on pit road, sending him to the rear of the field.

The green flag waved again with 29 laps remaining, and Aric Almirola and Joey Logano battled, but Logano prevailed as Almirola got caught in the middle lane. With about 23 laps left, another huge wreck erupted as Jimmie Johnson got loose and he and William Byron collided, collecting Brad Keselowski, Michael McDowell, Paul Menard, Clint Bowyer, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ryan Blaney, A.J. Allmendinger, Austin Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Cole Whitt, and Kasey Kahne. Keselowski, Menard, Byron, Dillon, McDowell, Allmendinger, and Bowyer would not continue.

The restart came with 17 laps left, and Joey Logano jumped away to the lead, followed by Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch. With seven laps left, the frontrunners strung out single-file, with Logano still leading. Despite a hard charge by Kurt Busch, Logano was able to capture the victory, his first in 36 races.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be back on track at Dover International Speedway for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism on Sunday, May 6.

Below are the full results from the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway:

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Kurt Busch
  3. Chase Elliott
  4. Kevin Harvick
  5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  6. David Ragan
  7. Aric Almirola
  8. Alex Bowman
  9. Ryan Newman
  10. Daniel Suarez
  11. Chris Buescher
  12. Jimmie Johnson
  13. Kyle Busch
  14. Denny Hamlin
  15. Ty Dillon
  16. Darrell Wallace Jr.
  17. Kasey Kahne
  18. Ryan Blaney
  19. Matt DiBenedetto
  20. DJ Kennington
  21. Cole Whitt
  22. Brendan Gaughan
  23. Timothy Peters
  24. Gray Gaulding
  25. Ross Chastain
  26. Martin Truex Jr. (Accident)
  27. Joey Gase (Engine)
  28. Jamie McMurray
  29. William Byron (Accident)
  30. Paul Menard (Accident)
  31. Clint Bowyer (Accident)
  32. Michael McDowell (Accident)
  33. Brad Keselowski (Accident)
  34. AJ Allmendinger (Accident)
  35. Austin Dillon (Accident)
  36. Timmy Hill (Engine)
  37. Reed Sorenson (Suspension)
  38. Trevor Bayne (Accident)
  39. Erik Jones (Accident)
  40. Kyle Larson (Accident)

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