Logano overtakes Keselowski on the final lap to give Ford Atlanta the win

HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — Joey Logano dominated early and then passed Brad Keselowski on the final lap to win the NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and end Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports’ preseason dominance on Sunday.

Logano won pole and led a strong performance from three straight Team Penske drivers in qualifying, but Keselowski looked like the Ford driver to beat late in the race. Keselowski had help from Corey LaJoie, but Logano got a shove from Christopher Bell that proved crucial on the last lap.

Bell finished third in a Toyota and LaJoie finished a career-best fourth in a Chevrolet.

“The first win of the season always feels better,” said the reigning cup champion, who led 141 of the 260 laps.

Logano’s win ended a streak of four consecutive victories by Chevrolet to open the NASCAR Cup season, including back-to-back wins by Hendrick’s William Byron.

Spurred on by Team Penske teammates Ryan Blaney and Austin Cindric, Logano overtook Keselowski to reclaim the lead with 34 laps to go. Keselowski retook the lead to set up drama on the final lap.

After no warnings in stage two, competition – and falls – increased late in the race.

Kevin Harvick, who won Atlanta in 2018 and 2020, was leading late when he lost control when pushed by Ross Chastain. Replays showed Chastain’s Chevrolet not hitting Harvick’s Ford, but Harvick’s spin caused a serious accident.

“I think he was so close to me that he caught me right in the corner,” Harvick said of Chastain. “The way he came from right to left took the car away from me.”

Byron called the wreck “just part of racing”.

Another wreck followed 20 laps later involving the leaders when Aric Almirola blew out a tire causing a spin that also killed Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez.

The four Hendrick Motorsports drivers had backup crew chiefs at Phoenix Raceway last weekend following the largest combined fine for a team in series history for modifying air deflector parts. Hendrick was fined a total of $400,000, along with four-race suspensions for the Crew Chiefs.


Chase Elliott, a Georgia native who won the race at his home track last summer, continues to recover in Colorado from a broken tibia he sustained during snowboard month.

Eliot posted regret on his Twitter account for not being able to compete in Sunday’s race: “It’s going to be tough today as I’m not going to be there for obvious reasons but can’t wait to see everyone down there in July!”

When Hendrick Motorsports tweeted to Elliott, “Not the same without you here,” Elliott replied, hoping he would return “hopefully sooner rather than later my friends.”


Atlanta Motor Speedway announced a multi-year contract extension with Quaker State for the July 9 race. Quaker State will also be the primary sponsor for Daniel Suarez’s car at the summer races in Atlanta and April 2 in Richmond. … Tyler Reddick started 16th and finished fifth after pre-race concerns he was ill and might not be able to compete in his Toyota. Reddick was excused from the pre-race drivers briefing. John Hunter Nemechek, who finished eighth in Saturday night’s Xfinity race, was available if Reddick failed to finish the race.


The NASCAR Cup Series moves to Austin, Texas and the Circuit of the Americas next Sunday. Ross Chastain scored his first cup win of his career on the road last year.


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