Joey Logano wins at Nashville in record 5th overtime for 1st NASCAR Cup Series victory of year (2024)

LEBANON, Tenn. (AP) — Joey Logano felt he couldn’t get to the finish line fast enough with his No. 22 Ford sputtering and nearly out of gas.

First, he had to hold off the driver with the fastest car to win the rain-delayed race that seemingly wouldn’t end Sunday night at Nashville Superspeedway in a NASCAR Cup Series-record fifth overtime.

Logano had a pack of pursuers on his bumper and knew he had to make one more move to block Tyler Reddick in Turn 4. Then Logano went “bonkers” after making it over the line first at the Ally 400.

“Definitely as close as you can cut it for sure,” Logano said about stretching his fuel almost to the last drop.

Logano held off Reddick’s charge in Turn 1 on the final lap and again in Turn 4. He then beat Zane Smith, Reddick, Ryan Preece and Chris Buescher to the line in the race that started nearly six hours earlier and went 31 laps longer than the 300 that were scheduled.

The fuel light in Logano’s Ford came on going into Turn 3 after the engine sputtered on the backstretch, and Logano — who ran the last 110 laps without stopping on the 1.33-mile concrete oval — said it stumbled across the line. All the caution laps helped stretch a tank expected to last 85 laps at best.

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“It’s a much-needed win for sure,” a smiling and relieved Logano said about his first victory this year and 33rd of his career.

If the finish wasn’t thrilling enough, the mayhem continued. Chase Briscoe ran out of fuel. Daniel Suarez and Martin Truex Jr. made contact, spinning Truex into the wall. Chase Elliott spun off Turn 4 and into the grass.

Smith wasn’t happy at finishing second, though he said he wouldn’t do anything different after the rookie’s best Cup finish.

“I felt like I chose the right lane, and it’s crazy how much different these cars drive with cleaner air,” Smith said. “Just proud of our strategy there.

Reddick was upset with himself on pit road, convinced he let his second victory of the year slip through his fingers.

“All the good cars ran out of fuel, and we were in position to pass the 22,” Reddick said about Logano. “He hadn’t been good all day long, and I didn’t get the job done.”

Denny Hamlin, who started on the pole and took the lead with seven laps left in regulation, was two laps from winning when Austin Cindric’s crash set up the chaotic finish. Hamlin finished 12th after pitting in overtime to avoid running out of fuel.

“It certainly stinks,” Hamlin said,

A thunderstorm that forced NASCAR to halt the race at 137 laps for 1 hour, 21 minutes washed off the traction that had built up. As a result, several cars got loose and crashed into the wall or slid into the grass.

That helped set up a thrilling race after Christopher Bell won the first two stages before crashing.

Hamlin took the lead going high into Turn 1, and Chastain went to the apron trying to hold him off and wobbled. That was enough for Hamlin to pass Chastain’s Chevrolet in what turned out to be only the first late lead change of a race that featured repeated crashes on restarts.

“I had a shot to win,” said Chastain, who led 45 laps while seeking his first win since the 2023 season finale at Phoenix.

Cindric set up the repeating overtimes when he made contact with Noah Gragson with two laps left. On the restart, points leader Kyle Larson caught the apron and slid with the right corner of his Chevrolet sending Chastain into the wall in Turn 1 for the 12th caution.

Larson then ran out of gas on another restart, causing Kyle Busch to crash into him. That’s when Hamlin went for gas, scrambling the field for the wild finish.

Bell, who won last week at New Hampshire, won the first two stages before hitting the wall on lap 228.

“Just put myself in a bad spot and lost my cool,” Bell said. “Got back in traffic with all those yellow flags. Had a bad restart.”

Drivers tried to run as many laps as possible before an incoming thunderstorm on a steamy, humid Tennessee afternoon.

Lightning brought out the red flag, stopping the race after 137 laps with clouds in Turn 4 so heavy that it looked like a funnel was trying to form before heavy rain. The storm moved through quickly and dryers hit the track about 25 minutes after racing stopped.

Barely a half-hour after the race stopped, a rainbow could be seen. NASCAR sent drivers back to their cars about 70 minutes after the red flag, and the stoppage lasted 81 minutes with 143 laps remaining.

Playoff update

With the win, Logano’s fretful nights worrying about making the chase are over. He became the 11th winner this season, leaving five spots left.

Not his day

John Hunter Nemechek raced to his second Xfinity Series victory of the year Saturday, then made his first Cup start at this track Sunday. The experience didn’t carry over. Nemechek spun into the grass off Turn 4 of lap 117 to bring out the second caution of the race.

Up next

The Chicago street race is July 7.

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AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing

Joey Logano wins at Nashville in record 5th overtime for 1st NASCAR Cup Series victory of year (2024)
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