AVONDALE, Ariz. – Joey Logano stormed to a late-race victory in Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Int’l Raceway, staving off elimination for the second time in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cutoff race and punching his ticket into the Championship 4.
Logano, who was running fourth with 13 laps to go after being passed by polesitter Alex Bowman and points rival Kyle Busch, caught a lucky break when the caution came out with two laps to go in regulation when Michael McDowell blew a tire in the dogleg and pounded the outside wall.
At that point, Matt Kenseth was the race leader and Logano was tied with Busch for the final transfer spot to go to Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend, with Bowman restarting second for an overtime attempt in the desert.
On the restart, everything changed in an instant.
Bowman got a shot from behind by Busch that sent him up the inside lane as Kenseth dove towards the bottom lane entering turn one, making contact with Kenseth as the No. 20 came down into Bowman’s right-front fender.
The impact sent Kenseth spinning and into the outside wall, ending his shot at the win and his Chase hopes as Logano inherited the lead ahead of a second overtime attempt.
From there, the 26-year-old Connecticut native held off Busch on the final restart – one that ultimately pushed the race 12 laps past its scheduled distance – en route to his third win of the season and second in an elimination race this season.
Logano’s win and Busch’s runner-up effort were enough for them to join previous Round of 8 winners Jimmie Johnson (Martinsville) and Carl Edwards (Texas) in the Championship 4 next Sunday at Homestead.
“This feels so good. I’ve never felt this good about a win before,” Logano said. “There was so much on the line and everyone brings their A-game when it comes to winning championships and this team did it. Man, this feels so good. I had a good restart there at the end and holding off Kyle to try to get this thing into Miami.
“We’re racing for a championship now,” he continued. “We did exactly what we had to do. We’ve got to go to Homestead and do the same thing. I couldn’t be more proud of this team. … I’m speechless right now. I feel like I just won the Daytona 500 again.”