Joey Logano holds off field in fifth OT, wins epic NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville (2024)

Joey Logano is almost assuredly returning to the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

The two-time series champion and perennial Team Penske contender emerged victorious after a wild finish at Nashville Superspeedway. Five overtime restarts concluded Sunday’s Ally 400, a race that broke the track record with 15 cautions and saw different drivers in contention to win late.

After previous leaders, including Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson, had run out of gas or pitted, Logano opted to use every ounce of fuel he had in his tank. He, too, had yet to pit in more than 100 laps — but managed to hold off a charging Tyler Reddick and Zane Smith throughout the fifth overtime.

Smith finished second, Reddick came in third, Ryan Preece fourth and Chris Buescher fifth.

“Drive all over the racetrack apparently, but I had to,” Logano said. “(Reddick) had tires there, so just had to make different moves and go different places, and I’ll tell you what, I went into (Turn) 3 and I saw that light, and I’m like, oh, no, I’m run out off of (Turn) 4. It just stumbled and spit and sputtered across the line there. Somehow I had enough for a little bit of a burnout, but I’m going to need a push back.”

Joey Logano holds off field in fifth OT, wins epic NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville (1)

Logano’s improbable win shakes up the playoff picture

Starting with next weekend’s Chicago Street Race, there are seven races left in the Cup Series’ regular season.

Larson remains the points leader, ahead of his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott by 20 points, Hamlin (-43), Reddick (-53) and Martin Truex Jr. (-73).

Logano’s win complicated the crowded field near the playoff cut line.

Ty Gibbs (+70), Ross Chastain (+66), Buescher (+56) and Alex Bowman (+51) unofficially sit in the 12th through 16th spots of the playoff standings after Sunday, moving Bubba Wallace (-51), Chase Briscoe (-78), Kyle Busch (-104) and Josh Berry (-131) below the elimination line.

Wallace had a strong run, finishing seventh. Busch was among drivers with a chance to win before wrecking as the third overtime started.

Joey Logano holds off field in fifth OT, wins epic NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville (2)

Through hour-long weather delay, Christopher Bell led laps early

Christopher Bell had a fast car once again.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver followed his third win of the season by sweeping the stages and dominating much of Sunday’s race. A rain and lightning delay lasting more than an hour halted the race during Stage 2, but Bell maintained control of his lead and held off the field once the race restarted.

Bell’s day ended on Lap 232 of 331 (originally 300) when his Toyota Camry lost power. He had led 131 laps, and his departure from the race initially made Hamlin become the new leader.

“I just put myself in a pretty bad spot going into Turn 1,” Bell said. “I got bottled up there and just lost my cool to make something happen and I put myself in a bad spot and spun out.

“I mean it’s disappointing, but there’s a lot to be positive about. We won two stages, so we got more playoff points, which is really good. Yeah, and the performance of our team is doing really well, so hopefully we can keep the ball rolling and I think we can win a lot more races.”

Joey Logano holds off field in fifth OT, wins epic NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville (4)

Nashville was well-represented this weekend

Before Logano celebrated in victory lane with a guitar, Luke Combs, the Huntersville native and country megastar, piloted the pace car to lead the field to green.

Wallace, who ran in the Top 10 throughout the day and finished seventh, drove a camouflage Camry with Combs’ name emblazoned on the hood. Wallace shared a moment with Combs pre-race, giving him a firesuit that matched the paint scheme.

A special gift between @Columbia1938 friends pic.twitter.com/pMW5Co4wPY

— 23XI Racing (@23XIRacing) June 30, 2024

In addition to Combs, country rock artist Hardy was involved in the pre-race festivities, giving an electrifying command to fire the engines.

Joey Logano holds off field in fifth OT, wins epic NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville (5)

John Hunter Nemechek wins in return to Xfinity, wrecks in Cup

Make that nine wins since the start of last season for John Hunter Nemechek.

The Cup Series rookie took his 11th checkered flag in Xfinity on Saturday, winning Stage 2 and holding off the field. He’s now won a pair of races in eight starts this year following a seven-victory campaign.

Nemechek, the 27-year-old Mooresville native who is the son of Joe, has been the series’ most consistent driver by a significant margin over the past year. Sam Mayer and Austin Hill are the next closest with six wins each.

On Sunday, Nemechek spun from 37th early in Stage 2 and brought out the race’s first natural caution. He finished 31st.

Joey Logano holds off field in fifth OT, wins epic NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville (6)

Joey Logano holds off field in fifth OT, wins epic NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville (2024)
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