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

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Joey Logano, top, celebrates after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race, Sunday, June 30, 2024, in Gladeville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

LEBANON, Tenn. – Joey Logano won the rain-delayed race at Nashville Superspeedway in a NASCAR Cup Series-record fifth overtime Sunday night, stretching his fuel enough to hold off a group of pursuers at the finish line.

Logano held off a charge by Tyler Reddick, 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.

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The fuel light in Logano’s Ford came on going into Turn 3, and Logano — who ran the last 110 laps without stopping on the 1.33-mile concrete oval — said it stumbled across the line.

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

If the finish wasn’t thrilling enough, the mayhem continued as Logano yelled and celebrated with just enough gas left for a burnout. 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 seemed like it would never end with 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 forced Hamlin to go to the pits for more gas, scrambling the field for another try at a 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.

As cars hit the track under yellow, NASCAR sent Cindric to the rear as a penalty for his crew having a fan on the pit wall pointed at his car during the red flag that was ruled as possibly cooling the vehicle for an extra edge.

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.


AP auto racing:

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