Joey Logano surged past Matt Kenseth with 44 laps to go and won at Bristol Motor Speedway, foiling Kenseth's gambling attempt to secure a spot in NASCAR's playoffs. It was Logano's third victory of the season and his first at Bristol.
Logano became the fifth driver this season to win three times, joining the Hendrick Motorsports trio of Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and teammate Brad Keselowski, who finished second.
“It's awesome,” Logano said in Victory Lane. “I've never won more than one race in a season, and now I've won three.”
Kenseth elected to stay on the track when most of the field pitted after a caution flag with 67 laps to go, picking track position and fresh air over new tires. It seemed like a strategy that could work, especially if he could stay in the high racing groove that gave drivers decidedly more speed off the corners.
But the Penske Racing teammates quickly proved it faulty.
“I just knew that clean air was going to be worth more than new tires,” Kenseth said of his decision after finishing third. He said he also felt his car wasn't as strong as he liked on fresh tires. “They cleared everybody way too fast.”
He still remains in great position to make the playoffs, standing fifth in the points race and first among nonwinners.
Jimmie Johnson, slowed early by two pit road speeding penalties, rallied to finish fourth, his best result since mid-June at Michigan. Kurt Busch was fifth.
Gordon remained the points leader despite a 16th-place run.