Tony Stewart, who qualified third, was competing at Watkins Glen for the first time after missing the previous two Cup races at the track in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York.
Harvick hasn’t won any of those battles between the three, but he’s been just as strong as he aims to defend his Sprint Cup Championship. He missed the 2013 event after breaking his leg in a sprint auto accident in Iowa.
It was a ideal weekend for Logano.
“The win is his second Sprint Cup Series victory this year and the 10th of his career”.
“Happy to get to race here today”, Stewart said. “It’s cool to have a win here”.
The regular-season finale is September 12 at Richmond global Raceway and all of the aforementioned drivers are winless, so they need to win one of the next four races or shore up their spot in the points standings to qualify for the 10-race run to the title.
Kyle Busch also raced by Harvick and finished second.
Harvick, Kenseth and others last pitted for fuel and tires just before a red flag for track clean-up on lap 51 of the 90-lap race. He finished second after racing his way back up through the field on a long green-flag finish, good enough to get in the top 30 in points. He’s satisfied with his team’s 10th-place standing (at this writing) in the Chase for the Sprint Cup following a slow start. “I felt like I was better than he was, but my crew chief (Adam Stevens) called in scared on the fuel situation from last week and I don’t blame him”.
Following the trophy presentations and meeting with the press, Logano reappeared on the racetrack where fans – and an excavator – stood waiting for him.
Popular driver Boris Said started ninth and persevered in his Toyota to finish fourth. Camping also sold out to the point where the track added an additional camping area last week.
Joey Logano: This was his first Watkins Glen victory. The three-time NASCAR champion, who has a record five wins at Watkins Glen, hasn’t won in 62 races, a streak that dates to Dover in June 2013, before he broke the leg.
“I really have one speed, and it’s just go… and it’s really hard for me to check up”, Logano said. “I’m just happy with this team and what these guys are doing”.
Logano, Keselowski and Buescher were in charge at the restart and maintained their positions, and with no further interruptions to proceedings it was Logano who clinched his 25th series victory having led for 39 of the 82 laps. That’s why he gets paid the big bucks. That’s why I drive the vehicle.
That gave JTG Daugherty Racing its first spot in the Chase, and a year later the same scenario presents itself – win and they’re in again.
Joey Logano led just one lap in Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen, but it was the only lap that mattered. “That’s the only way we’ll go into the Chase. I don’t know if I’ll sleep any better tonight, but I’ll be ready for tomorrow”.
Oh, I don’t know, maybe a Pocono trophy? “For us, being in the Top 30 right now, that obviously allows us to change our mindset maybe a little bit going forward”, Busch said.
Allmendinger got passed, had a problem with his starter and at one point fell a lap back.