Joey Logano steals Gateway victory in overtime

Spread the love

MADISON, Ill. — Joey Logano stuck around on pit road, after the checkered flag flew at Gateway to sign some autographs and pose for pictures with fans attending the after-party in Turn 1.

Tis the responsibilities that go with a race victory.

He had the race in check. Then he didn’t. Then a timely caution forced overtime.

On the final restart, Logano blasted past Kyle Busch going into Turn 1 and slid up the track to cover an advance to win the Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Joey Logano steals Gateway victory in overtime

What they said

“Thanks for coming out, guys,” he said. “I hope you enjoyed that race. It doesn’t get much better than that. Racing for the lead like that with Kyle, one of the best. It was a lot of fun. Crossing each other back and forth. I knew it was coming. I did it to him; I knew he was going to do it to me. We crossed back and forth there in the last lap there a couple of times. Good for Pennzoil Mustang for sure. Nice to get a few wins on the season here, start collecting those points, playoff points. I’m out of breath. Jamie, I’m way out of breath here. What a great car, though. Really fast. I kind of messed up in qualifying, and Paul made a great call putting two tires on. Blaney did a great job with the push down in the one, which kept me close at least and being able to make the move. Good racing there.”

It’s his 29th career victory in 485 NASCAR Cup Series starts and second of the 2022 season.

After leading a race high of 66 laps and having the race all but won in the closing laps, Kyle Busch chose the outside line on the final restart and came out in second.

“My car was better on the outside, but it took a few laps for it to get rolling up there,” he said. “Cold tires, firing off on that restart – didn’t have the help behind me.”

He considered signaling to brother Kurt Busch, who lined up behind him, to give him a push, but he noticed Logano anticipated it and dropped back half a car length.

“Got into Turn 1 by myself and was too far back,” he said. “When you are the guy on the inside, you just flush the guy on the outside and it’s over. I got a crossover though but threw it into (Turn) 3 too far. It chattered all four tires. Just didn’t have any grip to get off the corner well enough to be on his outside, so I don’t know. Way better than Phoenix overall. We were more in the running than there for sure.”

Kurt expected Kyle to give a signal, too.

“We did the whole brother miscommunication (thing),” Kurt Busch said. “We should have won that. There should have been a Toyota in victory lane, a Busch in victory lane. (Joey) Logano, he didn’t do anything smart – we just messed up on getting the launch. Then I wanted Kyle all on my own running 1-2.”

Ryan Blaney and Aric Almirola rounded out the top-five.

Martin Truex Jr.Erik JonesRoss ChastainChristopher Bell and AJ Allmendinger rounded out the top-10.

Joey Logano steals Gateway victory in overtime

RACE SUMMARY

Stage 1

Chase Briscoe led the field to green at 3:48 p.m. ET. He cut his left-rear tire on Lap 28, which handed the lead to Austin Cindric. Who drove on to win the first stage.

Aside from the two lead changes, not much of note happened in the first stage.

Stage 2

Back to green on Lap 54, Ryan Blaney, on the outside, edged Cindric at the line to take the lead on Lap 56. Kyle Busch inherited the lead by staying out and led the field back to green on Lap 70. After Blaney brought out the caution on Lap 95, Michael McDowell stayed out to take the lead.

Back to green on Lap 101, caution flew again on the same lap, after Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain and Austin Dillon went for the same real estate and Elliott spun. At the same time, Martin Truex Jr. turned Bubba Wallace in Turn 4.

Back to green on Lap 107, McDowell led until he pitted under the Lap 130 caution. Kurt Busch opted not to pit, assumed the lead and won the second stage.

Truex stayed out during the stage break and assumed the race lead.

The rest

Back to green on Lap 147, the action simmered down for the run to the finish. Until Reddick got loose off Turn 2 and spun down the backstretch, bringing out the caution on Lap 182. Erik Jones edged out Kyle Busch off pit road to take the race lead.

Both took just two tires.

On the ensuing restart, Busch ran Jones up the track in Turn 3 to retake the lead with 50 laps to go. Just like Reddick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got loose off Turn 2 and spun on the backstretch with 40 to go.

Back to green with 34 to go, Busch edged Joey Logano at the line, but Logano ran him up the track in Turn 2 to take the lead with 32 to go. Caution flew with 19 to go and Busch bested Logano on that restart. Only for Kevin Harvick to cut a tire and wreck in Turn 3 with four to go, which set up the run to the finish.

Joey Logano steals Gateway victory in overtime

What else happened

Ross Chastain bumped Denny Hamlin into the Turn 2 wall on Lap 65. Hamlin made Chastain use all the real estate on the backstretch to overtake him on Lap 80. The next time around on Lap 94, Hamlin blocked Chastain like crazy.

After turning Elliott on Lap 101, Elliott put Chastain into the wall off Turn 1 on the Lap 107 restart. Hamlin followed it up with a sideswipe to Chastain. What followed was several laps of Hamlin blocking Chastain like crazy. It only ended when the Tower told both drivers that they were a lap from being parked for not maintaining minimum speed.

Joey Logano steals Gateway victory in overtime

Nuts and bolts

The race lasted three hours, seven minutes and 34 seconds, at an average speed of 97.965 mph. There were 12 lead changes among nine different drivers and 10 cautions for 53 laps.

Elliott leaves Gateway with a nine-point lead over Kyle Busch.

SEE ALSO: NASCAR drivers on what to do with the All-Star Race

TOP IMAGE: Sean Gardner/Getty Images