After starting 37th due to a transmission change, Joey Logano rolled into Victory Lane for the first time this season in Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
See what the top-10 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series finishers had to say after a hot day at the 0.75-mile Virginia short track.
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Logano earned his first win of the 2017 season in his 300th career Monster Energy Series start Sunday at Richmond, but not without a hot pursue from teammate Brad Keselowski in the closing laps.
"I don’t think we would have been able to win the race and hold off Kyle (Busch) if it had stayed green," Logano said. "The caution came out. The boys had a great stop which gave us good track position to pass the cars that stayed out. I knew the No. 2 (Keselowski) was so much faster than everybody and I had to get out there as quick and as far as I could. He was on his way to catch me. I think he was catching me a couple tenths a lap.
"That was all I had inside the car and I burned them up early trying to go," he added. "I am proud of the effort of the team. We executed under pressure today and brought a car home that was a 5th-10th place car home to Victory Lane.”
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Keselowski was strong all day at Richmond, but obstacles on the final restart cost him in the end.
"By the time I cleared those guys, even though we were a little bit faster than Joey (Logano), he already had a straightaway on us," said Keselowski. "I felt like if I had five or ten more laps, I could have gotten to him and passed him, but there was only a handful of laps left, so that was the way it went.
"That's part of how this racing deal works, and the fastest car doesn't always win," he added. "It takes some weeks where you're the fastest and you have to try to make the most of it and try and do all you can."
Hamlin led 59 laps, but he wasn't able to outrun the Team Penske brigade for a victory at his home track.
“We couldn’t beat the No. 2 (Keselowski) and No. 22 (Logano) straight up, so it’s different and you just keep coming in and pitting for tires to try steal one even though we were a third-place car," Hamlin said after the race. "The strategy got all mixed up there and we were luckily able to get back up there and finish where we should have.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
After a rough start to the race, Stenhouse used strategy to rally back and earn a top-five finish.
”I made it a lot of work for us there getting in the fence later in that first stage and really we were fighting back all day from there," Stenhouse said. "Had a really good car on the long run, but we bent the splitter bar down. I was on the splitter for five or six laps, so restarts I was just trying to keep as best track position as I could, and once we got to Lap 6 or 7, my car kind of came back around to me. It was a no‑brainer there to stay out that last caution. I was glad it came out because I thought we missed the opportunity the run before to stay out. It worked out perfect."
Harvick led 11 laps in Sunday's race on his way to a third consecutive top-five finish.
"We had a quick Busch Light Ford today," said Harvick after the race.
McMurray hung around the top 10 the majority of the day to come home sixth.
“I had a really consistent car all day," McMurray said. "I didn’t have any problems. It was really a normal race. The cautions at the end helped us on one, and hurt us on one. But overall it was a really good day."
The Phoenix winner earned his third top-10 finish of the year at RIR, leading 25 laps en route to a seventh-place finish.
“It was a good day for this No. 31 team today," Newman said. "We got to lead laps and contend for the race win, so that’s all I can really ask for. I’m just proud of how we were able to improve on our Okuma Chevrolet all weekend long. Our car really raced well during the long green flag run; and if the race would have stayed green for the final 50 laps, I think we would have had something for them.”
After going a lap down, Busch and the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing team rallied back for an impressive eighth-place run.
“We had to drop back and punt," Busch said. "We came down pit road a lap down, in the lucky dog position and just started throwing rubbers and went wholesale on it and made great improvements. We are somehow missing the balance but we were able to make changes today to improve the balance and be competitive enough to get in the mix. We got eighth and that is about as best as we could hope to attain.”
After starting 25th, Almirola drove a clean race and was able to crack the top 10 for the first time since the Daytona 500.
“It was a solid day for us," Almirola said. "I am really proud of everybody on the Smithfield Ford Fusion here. We had a good day. We needed that. We typically run well here. This is one of our better tracks."
Martin Truex Jr.
Truex was able to recover from a commitment cone violation to score a top-10 result.
“I knew I was really pushing the issue there but the field got all jammed there because of that safety vehicle on the race track," Truex said of the incident. "I had to go outside around that thing and when I knew – I knew pit road was open and we were pitting and I’m sure I could jerk that thing left as hard as I could and get to pit road without crashing the No. 41(Kurt Busch), who was on my left side. I guess my right sides were on the box but not completely under.
"I thought the rule was two on or under the box, but obviously the call was that we were illegal and had to get a penalty so I don’t know what the deal is there," he added.