Joey Logano prevails over chaos at Nashville

It took a record-breaking five overtime restarts to conclude Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway. Ultimately, two-time series champion Joey Logano emerged victorious, securing his first win of the season and a spot in the 2024 playoffs in a thrilling finish.

With race leaders dropping out during each late-race restart — totaling 31 extra laps and 15 cautions — Logano and his Team Penske crew bet that his No. 22 Ford Mustang had enough fuel to reach the checkered flag. In the end, Logano’s car completed 110 laps on that final tank of fuel.

This triumph marked Ford’s first win at the 1.33-mile Nashville track and guaranteed Logano and his team a place in the postseason. Logano finished a mere 0.068 seconds ahead of Spire Motorsports rookie Zane Smith, who achieved his best Cup Series finish to date. 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick claimed third, followed by Stewart-Haas Racing’s Ryan Preece and RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher.

Logano, 34, admitted he wasn’t sure about his fuel situation as he neared the finish line.

“I know into (Turn) 3, my fuel light came on, and it stumbled across the line. That was definitely all of it,” Logano told NBC Sports post-race. “But so proud of this Shell-Pennzoil Mustang team. It’s been a stressful few weeks trying to get into the playoffs, and being able to win here is huge for our season. Felt great to get that. Boy, it feels good.”

Logano barely had enough fuel left to do a brief victory burnout in front of the sold-out Nashville crowd, which stayed until the end despite a one-hour, 21-minute red flag for rain and lightning only 136 laps into the 331-lap race. His crew chief, Paul Wolfe, confirmed Logano’s Mustang ran out of gas right at the end.

Even before the extra laps, the race’s scheduled conclusion featured an intense battle between pole-winner Denny Hamlin, aiming for a series-best fourth victory, and 2023 Nashville winner Ross Chastain, racing for his first win of the season. They dueled for 30 laps, with Hamlin closing in on Chastain’s lead before finally passing him with seven laps to go in the originally scheduled 300-lap race.

However, as Hamlin and Chastain seemed to be deciding the winner, Logano’s teammate Austin Cindric spun out with four laps remaining, triggering the first overtime.

Hamlin and Chastain restarted next to each other in the first overtime, but Chastain was hit from behind by Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson, whose Chevrolet’s splitter hit the apron, causing an accidental collision with Chastain’s car. This resulted in Chastain finishing 33rd, and Hamlin had to defend his position through two more overtimes before being forced to pit for fuel.

This left Logano and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe on the front row for the fourth overtime restart. Smith moved into second around Briscoe when the final caution came out for SHR’s Josh Berry.

Only one of the top 11 cars (Reddick) in the fifth overtime restart had won a race this season. However, a determined Logano got a great start and kept the challengers at bay as other incidents unfolded while the checkered flag flew.

Logano’s Team Penske teammate and reigning series champ Blaney finished sixth, followed by 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace, Larson, Kaulig Racing’s Daniel Hemric, and SHR’s Noah Gragson.

The race saw nine leaders and 20 lead changes throughout the day.

Early on, Christopher Bell seemed poised for his first back-to-back victories. However, pit strategy placed Bell’s No. 20 JGR Toyota at the back of the field, and he spun out alone in Turn 2, racing in 15th with 74 laps remaining.

Bell dominated the early stages, winning the first two stages and leading a race-best 131 of the first 229 laps — more than double any other driver’s laps led at that point.

“Just put myself in a bad spot, lost my cool, got back in traffic with all those yellow flags and put myself in a really bad spot going into (Turn) 1,” said Bell, who finished 36th in the 38-car field.

Larson’s eighth-place finish maintained his 20-point lead in the NASCAR Cup Series championship over his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott, who was involved in an incident on the race’s final lap. Hamlin is 43 points back with eight races remaining in the regular season.

The NASCAR Cup Series’ next race is the Grant Park 165, the main event of the second annual Chicago Street Race Weekend. The street-circuit race is scheduled for Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NBC Sports App), with 75 laps (165 miles) planned.

Note: Post-race technical inspection at Nashville Superspeedway found no issues, making Logano’s victory official. NASCAR officials also indicated that no cars would be sent to its Research & Development Center for further evaluation.