NASCAR Cup Atlanta: Logano takes first win of 2023 after last-lap pass on Keselowski
Reigning NASCAR Cup champion Joey Logano used a last-lap pass on Brad Keselowski to take his first win of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Keselowski was in control of Sunday’s race as the laps wound down but Logano – who led for 140 of the 260-lap contest, taking the Stage 1 win in the process – had worked his way back into contention.
Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, all the lead-lap cars pitted, with Aric Almirola first off pit road thanks to a fuel-only stop.
Chris Buescher had to restart from the rear of the field for speeding on pit road. Reddick was forced to pit again as the team didn’t get all the fuel in on his first stop.
On the restart on lap 169, Almirola was followed by Logano, Stage 2 winner Austin Cindric, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Alex Bowman.
Stenhouse got a shove off Turn 2 and grabbed the lead on the restart for the first time in the race.
Hamlin, using the bottom lane and a push from LaJoie, got around Stenhouse to take the lead on lap 176 as Stenhouse dropped to second.
Shortly after Kevin Harvick took the lead on Lap 189, Ross Chastain got Harvick loose from behind on Lap 190 and Harvick’s #4 Ford went for a spin in front of the field.
Among the car involved in the incident were Busch, Buescher, Harrison Burton, Josh Berry and William Byron.
All of the lead-lap cars hit pit road, with Almirola first off as teams made multiple strategy choices. Hamlin and Ty Dillon made contact on pit road while Chastain ended up driving in grass.
Race winner Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Mustang
Photo by: Lesley Ann Miller / Motorsport Images
On the restart on lap 200, Almirola was followed by Kyle Larson, Keselowski, Chastain and Reddick.
As Almirola led the field around Turn 4 on lap 209, it appeared he had a tyre go down and spun and collected Larson, which brought out the fifth caution of the race. Daniel Suarez also got some damage in that incident.
A handful of cars elected to pit but Keselowski remained on the track and in the lead when the race returned to green on ;lap 217. He was followed by Reddick, Bowman, Bell and Hamlin.
With his two team-mates close behind him, Logano was able to get around Keselowski on lap 227 and return to the lead.
Thanks to a push from Reddick, Keselowski moved ahead of Logano to regain the lead on lap 231.
With 15 laps to go, Keselowski maintained a small lead over Logano and Blaney. Reddick ran fourth and Bell fifth.
With five to go, Keselowski and Logano were racing side-by-side for the lead.
On the final lap, Keselowski led the outside line while Logano led the inside.
As the field headed toward Turn 3, Logano went to the outside of Keselowski, and thanks to a big push from Christopher Bell, was able to clear Keselowski for the lead.
Logano then held off Keselowski by 0.193 seconds to earn his first win of the season and first at Atlanta.
Bell ended up third, Corey LaJoie finished a career-best fourth and Tyler Reddick – who raced with flu-like symptoms – ended up fifth.
Completing the top 10 were Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Ty Gibbs and Kyle Busch, with Cindric missing out in 11th.
NASCAR Cup Atlanta race result
|17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Chevrolet||260||2:53'05.738||0.893|
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||260||2:53'05.820||0.975|
|24||Chase Briscoe||Ford||259||2:53'16.702||1 Lap|
|25||Cody Ware||Ford||258||2:53'17.159||2 Laps|
|26||J.J. Yeley||Ford||258||2:53'23.267||2 Laps|
|27||Bubba Wallace||Toyota||255||2:53'20.769||5 Laps|
|28||Ryan Preece||Ford||244||2:53'27.583||16 Laps|
|29||Daniel Suarez||Chevrolet||213||2:26'32.990||47 Laps|
|30||Aric Almirola||Ford||208||2:18'27.865||52 Laps|
|31||Kyle Larson||Chevrolet||208||2:18'28.009||52 Laps|
|32||William Byron||Chevrolet||192||2:05'26.665||68 Laps|
|33||Kevin Harvick||Ford||190||1:59'36.000||70 Laps|
|34||Harrison Burton||Ford||190||2:06'36.564||70 Laps|
|35||Chris Buescher||Ford||189||1:57'48.521||71 Laps|
|36||B.J. McLeod||Chevrolet||189||1:57'50.625||71 Laps|
|View full results|
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