Joey Logano's late gamble paid off in a big way as the Team Penske driver lead the final 17 laps to win Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond, despite starting the race from the 37th position.
Logano, along with teammate Brad Keselowski, made a bold decision to stay on the track with 34 laps remaining while the leaders pitted, hoping for a another caution to wave for a chance at fresh tires. The caution flag came just 10 laps later when Ryan Blaney brought out the ninth and final caution of the day.
Logano was able to pull away from Keselowski for his first win of the season in his 300th career start.
Aided by quick pit stops and fast restarts, Denny Hamlin overcame electrical problems with his dash near the end of Stage 1 and led 59 laps en route to a third-place finish.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished fourth, followed by Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray.
Race favorite Kyle Busch, who entered Sunday’s 400-lap race with the highest average finish (7.0) and driver rating (110.8) at Richmond among active drivers, saw his winless drought continue as a speeding penalty and a late commitment line violation on pit road hindered his running position. He finished 16th and is still without a win since September 2016 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Pole sitter Matt Kenseth led the first 164 laps and captured a Stage 1 win, but Keselowski was able to get around the No. 20 car and lead the next 41 laps for his first stage win of the season as the second 100 laps went caution-free.
In his first race since announcing his retirement at the end of the season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. took a chance and stayed on the track, along with Ryan Newman, as the leaders pitted with just under 80 laps remaining.
The caution flag Earnhardt was hoping for unfortunately came because he hit the outside wall out of Turn 2, causing him to over-correct into the side of Jimmie Johnson's car on Lap 343. Junior was able to make repairs but just 13 laps later he lost a left rear tire, took a spin and hit the wall. He finished 30th while Johnson was 11th.
Full unofficial results from the Toyota Owners 400:
Martin Truex Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Stage 1 winner: Kenseth
Stage 2 winner: Keselowski