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Joey Logano Makes Obscene Fuel Save; Wins in Quintuple Overtime at Nashville

Photo Credit: Tyson Gifford, TobyChristie.com

There isn’t really a combination of words able to fully encapsulate what transpired during the closing stages of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Nashville Superspeedway.

The 1.33-mile speedway has garnered a reputation for putting on a fantastic show since being added to the Cup Series schedule in 2021, but this year’s event completely flew off the handle.

With just two laps remaining in the event’s scheduled distance (300 laps), a simple spin for Austin Cindric triggered a caution, throwing the race into NASCAR Overtime, and essentially, into a 40-minute fit of chaos.

Ironically enough, it was Cindric’s teammate at Team Penske, Joey Logano, that managed to come away from Nashville Superspeedway with the victory, after saving an obscene amount of fuel and holding off a hungry pack in quintuple overtime.

The two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion made the final tank of fuel last 110 laps around the 1.33-mile superspeedway, which equates to 30 laps longer than the furthest estimate of the fuel window for NASCAR Cup Series cars.

“A lot of teamwork there,” said Logano about hitting the obscene fuel number. “You have to give a lot of credit to our fueler, Nick Hensley, our engine department with Roush Yates building obviously some engines that could also manage fuel really well, and some guts — a lot of cajones made it happen.”

It’s been a tough season for Logano, who entered Sunday’s 19th event of the NASCAR Cup Series campaign sitting just above the cutline, with a 13-point advantage over Bubba Wallace. Now, because of the win, the Middletown, Connecticut native will lock himself into the post-season.

“It’s been a hard season and being on that cut line, I tell you it sucks. It’s just not fun,” Logano said. “It’s hard and you just want a little bit of relief of the pressure and with seven weeks to go until the playoffs, it gives us a chance to breathe for a second and start just kind of working on our car a little bit differently and just sleep better, to be honest with you. I’m proud of this team and proud to be here in Victory Lane, for sure.”

The biggest surprise of the evening, when it came to the rundown, was a second-place run by Zane Smith, a career-best for the NASCAR Cup Series rookie. Smith pitted 25 laps later than most of the field in the final stage, giving him the gas necessary to climb up the running order.

RESULT: Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway

It’s the first-ever top-five for Smith in the Cup Series, and the best finish for Spire Motorsports on a non-drafting racetrack. The Huntington Beach, California native came up 0.068 seconds short of winning the race on Sunday, as Logano began to stumble after crossing the start-finish line.

Tyler Reddick came home in third, but was a bullet in the fifth attempt at NASCAR Overtime, driving from the third row immediately into the battle for the victory, putting himself in a nearly three-wide situation at the end of the race with Logano and Smith.

Ryan Preece brought his No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang Dark Horse home in fourth place for Stewart-Haas Racing, his best-ever result for the organization that will shut down at season’s end. Chris Buescher rounded out the top five for RFK Racing, his fifth such finish this season.

After a questionable strategy call by Jonathan Hassler that left defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney on the racetrack far too long, forcing the No. 12 to hit pit road and lose a lap under green, the Ohio-born driver scored a free pass and finished sixth.

Bubba Wallace needed a solid finish (and Logano not to win) and came home in seventh place, while Kyle Larson, Daniel Hemric, and Noah Gragson rounded out the top-10.

Before any of this NASCAR Overtime chaos even began to unfold, Christopher Bell appeared to be the dominant car all afternoon, leading a race-high 131 laps, before getting involved in a Lap 229 accident that saw his DeWalt Toyota Camry XSE smack the outside wall in the second corner. Bell finished 36th.

Denny Hamlin was another Joe Gibbs Racing teammate snubbed by the late-race chaos, after the Chesterfield, Virginia native was able to snag the lead away from Ross Chastain late in regulation, before eventually running out of gas around the third overtime restart. Hamlin rebounded to finish 12th.

Chastain, the defending winner at Nashville Superspeedway, was posted to compete for the victory on Sunday, but was ultimately taken out in a multi-car accident that stemmed from the first overtime restart, which also collected Kyle Larson, Ty Gibbs, and several others. Chastain finished 33rd.

Finally, after a dismal four weeks in the NASCAR Cup Series, Kyle Busch finally looked posted to have a solid afternoon, running inside the top five at the end of the event. Then, the No. 8 got caught up in two separate incidents in Overtime, and the Zone Chevrolet broke, forcing him to retire from the event in 27th.

Leaving Nashville, Kyle Larson holds a 20-point margin in the regular-season points over teammate Chase Elliott. Denny Hamlin, Tyler Reddick, and Martin Truex, Jr. complete the top five.

Next for the NASCAR Cup Series is a trip to Chicago, Illinois, for the second-annual Chicago Street Race..

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