Joey Logano really has this whole winning inaugural races thing down, doesn’t he?
Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway – the first at the 1.25-mile facility — didn’t leave anything to the imagination, putting on a display of full-contact on-track action, and even included a fantastic battle for the win.
When the checkered flag flew, Joey Logano crossed the start-finish line first, beating out Kyle Busch by 0.655 seconds in NASCAR Overtime for his second victory of the season and the 29th of his NASCAR Cup Series career.
The final caution of the event, which flew as a result of Kevin Harvick’s significant contact with the turn three wall, set the field up for a two-lap dash to the finish, in which Logano and Busch traded the lead three times.
Busch – who led a race-high 66 circuits around WWT Raceway — finished in second-place, notching his third consecutive top-three finish and his second straight runner-up result in the NASCAR Cup Series.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s older brother, Kurt Busch, who won the race’s second stage, rebounded from a major loss of track position to finish in third.
Ryan Blaney and Aric Almirola both found themselves in the fight for the victory late in the race, but would ultimately finish fourth and fifth.
Martin Truex Jr. – making his 600th career start in the NASCAR Cup Series — finished in sixth, with Erik Jones and Ross Chastain both scoring impressive runs in seventh and eighth.
Chastain’s finish inside the top-10 is nothing short of a miracle, after sending Denny Hamlin into the outside wall early in the event. What followed was – at least — five separate instances to impede the Trackhouse Racing’s progress, losing him lots of time.
Christopher Bell came home in ninth-place, while AJ Allmendinger – who had never seen the track before this morning — rounded out the top-10, less than 24 hours removed from a NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Portland.
Zane Smith – filling in for a COVID-positive Chris Buescher — finished in 17th-place, earning a respectable top-20 result in his NASCAR Cup Series debut for RFK Racing.
The event featured a total of 10 yellows for 53 laps, marking the seventh time in 15 races this season that the series has seen double-digit caution flags.
Exiting WWT Raceway, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Sonoma, California for the series’ annual trip to Sonoma Raceway, which also marks the final event to be broadcasted on the FOX family of networks.
Chase Elliott leaves Gateway with a nine-point advantage over Kyle Busch in the regular-season point standings, with Ross Chastain (-17) in third, Ryan Blaney (-28) in fourth, and Martin Truex Jr. (-37) rounding out the top five.
Looking at the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff bubble, Tyler Reddick – 12th in series points — holds the final spot in the 16-car post-season as things stand, with a two-point advantage over Kevin Harvick.