Joey Logano pulled away on the restart to win a green-white-checkered finish Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon and advance to the second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.
Logano and Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski have both advanced to the next round. Four drivers will be eliminated after every third race, and a win guarantees a driver an automatic berth into the next round. The first cutoff race is next week at Dover International Speedway.
Logano raced to his fourth victory of the season, leading 73 laps and surviving a NASCAR season-high 15 cautions that wrecked results for several Chase drivers.
He took the lead from Kevin Harvick with 27 laps left and went on to his seventh career Cup victory. Logano won at New Hampshire, his home track, for the second time.
“This is my home race track, coolest place to win for me,” Logano said. “I watched my first Cup race here when I was 5. This just means to much. Just got to thank all the boys at Team Penske; we’re doing what we’ve got to do to win this thing, both teams are.”
Keselowski led 78 laps, hit the wall, and still was in the hunt for a win. He failed in his bid to win a third straight Cup race, though he salvaged a seventh-place finish. Keselowski advanced with a win in the Chase opener at Chicagoland.
Team Penske has won four of the last five races dating to Bristol.
Rookie Kyle Larson was second. Chase drivers took seven of the first 10 spots at New Hampshire. Harvick was third, Jimmie Johnson fifth, Aric Almirola sixth, Kyle Busch eighth, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. 10th.
“It’s not all about winning and losing at this point. It’s about advancing,” said Harvick, who led a race-high 104 laps.
Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Almirola are in the bottom four of the 16-driver field and at risk of getting cut at Dover.
Team Penske has stamped itself as an early favorite to win a championship for owner Roger Penske.
“I went to sleep last night hoping for a top-five,” Logano said. “We’ve got to keep our eye on the prize and think about the big trophy at the end.”
The staggering number of cautions slowed the 300-mile race and wrecked the chances for several Chase drivers to contend for a win. Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth, and Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne all finished outside of the top 20.
Other Chase drivers’ results: AJ Allmendinger was 13th, Roush Fenway Racing drivers Biffle and Carl Edwards were 16th and 17th, Ryan Newman 18th, Kenseth 21st, Kahne 23rd, and Gordon 26th.
Lewis Hamilton took the lead in the Formula One drivers’ championship by winning the Singapore Grand Prix, leapfrogging teammate Nico Rosberg who had to retire early with a gear-selection failure.
Hamilton led comfortably but was forced into a late pit stop, briefly giving up the race lead to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, before he passed the German seven laps from the finish to win by 13.5 seconds at the Marina Bay circuit.
The Briton won his seventh race of the season, and second in a row, to move to 241 points, ahead of Rosberg on 238 with five races left.
Tony Schumacher raced to his second Top Fuel victory in two days at Texas Motorplex, taking the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals in Ennis, Texas.
Courtney Force topped the Funny Car field, Dave Connolly won in Pro Stock, and Andrew Hines in Pro Stock Motorcycle in the second of six playoff events in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
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