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Joey Logano Wins Perplexing All-Star Race

Though the opening two 50-lap segments of Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race seemed to see more strategy bloopers than on-track racing, Joey Logano still made it all worth while as he passed Kyle Larson with two laps to go to win the non-point event for the first time at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“I knew what I was up against after watching the Showdown,” Logano said of Larson.

Indeed, it was the Sprint Showdown – a three-segment race which locked three drivers into the All-Star Race – that et the stage for stock car racing’s All-Star night. The commander of the chaos was Kyle Larson who rubbed Chase Elliott to advance into his first All-Star event.

“I knew we were going to race really hard,” Logano said.  “It’s for a million bucks, and I was able to around Lap 6, move up the racetrack and find some speed.  Obviously Kyle saw that, he moved up and then I knew I was going to have to make the bottom work somehow.”

As the top 11 drivers were ordered to pit road for the final 13-lap shootout, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch, who ran 12th and 13th at the time of the caution, were advanced to the front row.

And as it was built up all week, the green flag flew and the racetrack seemed to double in size, as they spread three and four wide in the opening circuits. Larson drove out to the point before Logano cleared the mess and made his way to the rear of the No. 42.

Unlike past years, once Larson moved up to block Logano’s progress, the No. 22 Ford was able to cut it left, make the pass on the bottom and take the lead following small contact into Turn 1. Logano went on to beat Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski by 1.142 seconds, the first team sweep in All-Star Race history.

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Again, Kyle Larson was the showman on the track, once again coming up short. [Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images]
“Once I had position on him going into the corner, I had to make sure I kept him on the quarterpanel and not to the door,” Logano said. “So I knew he was going to drive in to try to suck me around from the outside and I knew I had to drive in to make sure he didn’t do that, and just good hard racing there at the end.  It was a lot of fun.  He’s a heck of a racer.”

For the second straight week, it was Larson who came home with the short stick, as the Chip Ganassi Racing driver slammed the wall hard enough to end his race on pit road in 16th spot.

“I just got loose, and Joey caught me, and he did a really good job of side-drafting me,” Larson said. “I tried to hang on his quarter, and I just got really loose as soon as I got down in the corner. We were going so fast I couldn’t correct it and drilled the wall.”

The late-race battle came following a rush of bewilderment as Matt Kenseth was given a one-lap penalty after not making his green-flag pit stop in Segment No. 1. A caution for Jamie McMurray came with four laps to go while a number of drivers were on pit road. Additionally, the yellow trapped a group of drivers one lap down, essentially baffling the teams, drivers, fans… anyone who was watching.

“I was pretty confused right up until it was 13 laps to go,” said Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who finished third. “And then I knew, well, we’re racing from here to the end, and this is all the normal rules.  But everything before that was really out of my — I was out of my element.”

Among the most fired up drivers during the night was – spoiler alert – Tony Stewart, who called it the “most screwed-up All-Star Race ever” as he ended his final All-Star Race in the garage following a hard lap 24 crash in Segment No. 2.

Brad Keselowski, finishing second, was among the minds behind the format and pointed to the late-race pass by teammate Logano as a step in the right direction for the race, and the sport, as a whole.

“There was a next-to-last-lap pass for the lead,” Keselowski said. “There were several passes for the lead. The last four (All-Star) races, there hasn’t been a pass for the lead in the last 20 or 30 laps.  I think our fans deserve a better format than that, and they got that today.

“I don’t know how you can get much more compelling racing than what we saw today, so they need to get unconfused and enjoy the racing.”

Despite early troubles, third-place Earnhardt shared Keselowski’s words, saying the same race for the win would not have happen with last year’s aero rules.

“You know, you saw the [Nos.] 22, he could get right up to that 42,” he said. “Man, if we were running the ’14 or ’15 package, the 42 could have went wherever the 22 was going and kept him about 10 car lengths behind him the whole time.  He didn’t ever have to worry about it.

“So the fact that the 22 can drive up there right to him and the 42 can’t do anything about it, we’re going down the right direction with all that stuff.”

One of the most interesting battles of the night came in the final segment when Trevor Bayne and Kurt Busch bounced, banged and bopped each other for the sixth position. Bayne, who transferred his way into the race by winning Segment No. 1 of the Sprint Showdown, called it good, hard racing.

Completing the top-10 finishers was Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.

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10 thoughts on “Joey Logano Wins Perplexing All-Star Race”

  1. I’m glad that Brad Keselowski has deputized himself as chief of the NASCAR Fan Thought Police.
    I can’t wait to hear what we’re supposed to think about the Coca Cola 600.
    By the way, is complexing really a word?

    • It’s like Keselowski finally decided that he should take up the Robin Pemberton “fans need me to tell them what they really saw” mantle. Somebody forgot to tell him that fans weren’t looking to fill that void. Besides, there’s already SiriusXM for that.

    • I understand Brad’s point but he’d have been better served by keeping his mouth shut. As for Tony Stewart, I agree with him… I too am glad this was his last all-star race.

  2. First, wtg & congrats to Joey Logano, [The Captain] Roger Penske & the Team Penske, Roush Yates Engines, Pennzoil #22 Ford Performance Fusion crews on sweeping up 1 million smackers! And kudos to KyLar for racing hard & excepting defeat like a man! He’s a classy kid & provides a rare & invaluable example of a Nascar competitor losing with dignity that dignifies the sport as a whole.
    Next, this year’s “All-star” format was questionable, & I understand the concerns. But [as usual], I think most of the whinging is central to the unfortunate performances of “popular” drivers & an “unpopular” driver beating down the poster-children. Aka: sophomoric sour grapes from indignity sore losers.
    Regardless, the format’s intricacies have been known for months. So, it is inexplicable to go on track whilst NOT comprehending it’s nuances. As I hear the negative driver & crew chief commentary [“I don’t know what is going on”], I can easily translate that into “we can not be bothered with our job description or with doing our jobs.” It is a comical, if not woefully hypocritical rationalization to blame outside entities after YOUR lack of dedication to your profession bites your lower back. And that is fact, not opinion.
    Yet, as for me, I have never been sold on ANY “allstar” event. They are frivolous & pointless. As for Nascar, nothing justifies eradicating pit speed limits. Needless to say, I am NOT entertained by death-defying tire changes. This [“qualifying format”] needlessly throws prudent safety measures out the window & volunteers the nameless & faceless hero [crew-men] of the sport for inevitable tragedies, for the sole purpose of instigating corporate profit. Regardless of that exceedingly dangerous & ethically bankrupt corporate policy, Jamie Mac said it best with words to the effect of, “it’s a truer test of skill to leave the usual pit speed limits in place”. Because dropping the speed limit is an unusual test & unreal environment for drivers & crews that has NO baring, what-so-ever, on how drivers are included in future “all-star” weekends, OR on how they perform in the race itself. More-over, the phony pomp-&-circumstance of the weekend only serves to highlight gluttony intrinsic to [ALL] incorporated sports, & is NOT flattering in my eyes. Having said that, as for Nascar, my only suggestion would be to run this [non-points events] either after Chicago (after the “regular season”, before the “chase”), or after Miami (after the “chase”). To me (& prolly everyone along the pit wall), it makes no sense tax the teams into fabricate special “one-off” cars in the middle of a busy season. Or to break in the middle of an intense points battle for a dog & pony show. But mind you, I still think the whole concept is utter horse-pucky [even when my guys win].

    • Well said. I gave the same thought as to sour grapes as to who came in first and second. (My viewpoint is Big FLucking Deal on the whole thing). I am sure if one of the “popular cool kids” won..the format and race would have been “the best ever” by many fanatics. Too funny. I am really fascinated about the amount of whining, from drivers down to fans. Bunch of damn babies. DIVAS running amok.

  3. Furthermore: …as the purpose of this [All-Star] event was/is to glorify the sport & it’s top runners, it is absolutely hilarious to see, after all their years in the sport, several of it’s top “professional” personalities remain so small & feeble-minded to use the occasion to defrock themselves [AGAIN]. As previously stated, to say, “I don’t know what is going on” after committing a critical error, can easily translate into, “I can not be bothered with my job description or with doing my job.” This voluntarily self-identifies everything I need to know about certain competitors & tells me nothing about the format they are attempting to, but not actually criticizing. After all, how valuable is your input on a topic ….AFTER you identify yourself as being clueless about said topic?

  4. When I saw the cars being checked for the lug nuts, I thought it was too soon. I wanted them to line the cars up after the race in their finishing order and check the torque on the lug nuts. The first car to pass was the winner. All the cars were checked and ANY car that failed was disqualified and no “prize” money. The diva had a chance to win that way.

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