TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Joey Logano picked up his third Xfinity Series win of the season by throwing a big block on the final lap at Talladega Superspeedway.
Logano led a race-high 40 laps Saturday but had to withstand an intense final race to the checkered flag.
The Team Penske driver was the leader on a restart with eight laps remaining, and defending race winner Elliott Sadler hooked to his bumper. Sadler pushed Logano around and around the superspeedway as an outside lane of traffic formed alongside them.
As the final lap began, Sadler had no room to make any sort of attempt to pass Logano for the lead.
Chris Buescher, his teammate at Roush Fenway Racing, was leading the outside line and mounting a challenge on Logano. As Sadler found himself boxed in, he slid off of Logano’s bumper.
Logano then drifted up the track to block Buescher and the entire outside line — a move that secured the win.
“That was crazy,” Logano said in Victory Lane. “It’s so fun and so intense, I’m still trying to catch my breath. It’s so intense out there, you’re looking at everything in the mirror the whole time.”
Brian Scott snagged second place at the finish line and was followed by Austin Dillon as Chevrolets from Richard Childress Racing completed the podium.
J.J. Yeley was fourth in a Toyota and Joey Gase, who started 39th, finished a career-best fifth.
Gase, who had never had a top-10 in 84 previous starts, was overwhelmed after the finish. A 21-year-old struggling driver, Gase had not finished higher than 25th this season before Saturday.
“Talladega is the great equalizer,” he said. “I was hoping to get to the end. There are so many wrecks, we were getting beaten all around, we almost got involved in all of them. To get fifth — our sponsorship for the whole year gets about what a top team gets for one race — so to show everyone what we can do, I love it.”
Buescher and Sadler faded to sixth and seventh.
“We were close,” Buescher said, acknowledging that Logano “moved up and he blocked us when we had that final run. It’s wild, guys are constantly moving you around.”
There were several multi-car wrecks during the race and an incident on pit road injured two crew members from Biagi DenBeste Racing.
The incident evolved from a 10-car accident that sent cars spinning down pit road. Brendan Gaughan slid down pit road and hit the inside wall. It appeared he also hit a pit sign held over the wall by a crew member, and several people were knocked to the ground.
One pit crew member was treated in the infield care center and one was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. Their identities were not released.
“That was a scary hit on the inside pit wall,” Logano said. “There are a lot of people standing on that thing a lot of times and really close. I had a front row view of that and it scared me watching it.”
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