Joey Logano Executes Last-Lap Pass To Win Atlanta
Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, two former Penske Racing teammates who have battled for wins against one another on the pack racing tracks at Daytona and Talladega time and time again, found themselves leading the two racing lines throughout the final stint of today's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Logano's inside line was not preferred and had struggled throughout the day, but it came through at the moment that mattered most.
Logano led 140 laps in the race, but he spent the final 25 sticking to the inside. That allowed him to stand by the leading Keselowski for much of the final stint, but with five to go his lane had waned in the chaos of fighting for positions and needed to re-form quickly. A push from Corey LaJoie did the job, putting Logano back level with third place with two to go. Coming to the white flag, another push gave him the momentum to ice out the entire outside line but Keselowski, move to Keselowski's outside with extra speed, block out any ability for anyone else to get to Keselowski's bumper, and take the lead.
Retweet to congratulate Joey Logano on his win at Atlanta Motor Speedway! pic.twitter.com/hebP0gg3lj
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) March 19, 2023
With this track only 1.5 miles long and not wide enough to produce the chaotic sorts of broken pack finishes that we see at the end of the average Talladega race, Logano was able to sail away over the last half lap and take the win. It is the first points-paying win for a driver of anything but a Chevrolet all season, Logano's second of the year after an exhibition victory at the LA Coliseum, and, as the history of this playoff format to date suggests, should be enough for Logano to secure a spot in the 2023 Playoff field.
NASCAR's relentless schedule continues next weekend with the season's first road course race, an event at the Circuit of the Americas. Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen, and Jimmie Johnson highlight an intriguing field of road course specialists taking on the home of the United States Grand Prix next Sunday.
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