Joey Logano methodically ran down Matt Kenseth and passed him with 44 laps to go to win Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
It was a Team Penske one-two finish, as Brad Keselowski also got by Kenseth to come home behind Logano in his Ford. Kenseth finished third in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, followed by Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch.
The victory was the third of the year for Logano, tying him for most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race victories with teammate Keselowski and Hendrick Motorsports drivers Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
For his career, Logano now has six Sprint Cup race victories.
Kevin Harvick started on the pole after setting a new track record of 131.362 miles per hour during Friday’s qualifying session. At the start, Harvick was flanked on Row 1 by Jeff Gordon.
Harvick started from the preferred outside lane and led easily once the race began. Gordon went into the lead for the first time on Lap 38, using a pick from Danica Patrick to muscle his way past the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet.
Kyle Busch, meanwhile, was charging hard, moving to second on Lap 53 and into the lead two laps later.
On Lap 61, NASCAR brought out a competition caution flag. Under yellow, Busch got busted for speeding on pit road, as did Jimmie Johnson. The penalties put Matt Kenseth into the lead until Lap 104, when Joey Logano got past him.
On Lap 126, Brian Vickers got loose and hit Aric Almirola, triggering a big crash that also snared Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Larson.
After a round of pit stops, Denny Hamlin emerged with the lead on Lap 133.
It would be short-lived, however. On Lap 160, Harvick tried to pass Hamlin and instead turned him into the frontstretch wall, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. also tagging Hamlin in the process.
Under the ensuing caution, Kasey Kahne stayed out and assumed the lead, which he held until Lap 238, when he got balked in traffic and was passed by Jamie McMurray.
Brad Keselowski went to the point for the first time on Lap 265, taking the lead on pit road after a caution for Danica Patrick’ s spin.
McMurray gradually ran Keselowski down and when the Team Penske driver got pinned behind the lapped car of David Ragan on Lap 312, McMurray retook the lead.
Things tightened up around the Lap 400 mark, as Kenseth and Logano both closed on McMurray for the lead.
A caution for debris on Lap 432 sent most of the leaders down pit road, but Kenseth stayed out and took over the top spot.
The Penske Fords of Logano and Keselowski started running Kenseth down and caught him with about 50 laps to go.
Finally, on Lap 457, Logano past Kenseth and from there that was all she wrote, as Logano sailed to his third victory of the season.