CONCORD, N.C. — Joey Logano turned what could have been an awful 800 miles of racing into two small victories, one that earned him a trophy, the other a breather in the championship standings.
A tire problem in the Hurricane Matthew-postponed opening race of the second round of the Chase cut Logano’s day short by 120 miles. His 36th-place finish in the Sprint Cup race on Sunday would have been horrific for his championship chances if not for problems to nearly half the title-contenders.
With a rare reprieve in the more important championship race, he turned his attention to the Xfinity Series race. It was the final race in the opening round of this series’ inaugural Chase, and Cup star Logano came away with the win. Four drivers were eliminated from the Xfinity Series’ playoffs, among them Ty Dillon, who came up a point short of advancing.
“That was a good recovery from the first part of my day,” Logano said after the Xfinity Series win. “I feel a lot better than I did about three or four hours ago.”
The race had been dominated by Kyle Larson until a late restart gave Logano the chance to get by him. Larson led 165 of the 200 laps and at one point had lapped all but one car in the field.
Logano got the one chance on the restart, raced Larson three-wide for a lap, then cleared him and pulled away for the win.
“He was really fast, I knew my only shot was on a restart,” Logano said. “It’s fun to race with no points, nothing to lose.”
Elliott Sadler finished second, Daniel Suarez was third, and Larson faded to fourth.
Eliminated from the Xfinity Chase were Dillon, Brennan Poole, Ryan Sieg and Brandon Jones.
“We were terrible today,” Dillon said. “We were a team that should have been in the final round.”
The battle to advance into the second round had its own drama, such as Darrell Wallace Jr. finishing three laps down but beating Dillon by that single point.
“Yeah, it’s cool that we made it to the next round, but who’s happy about the way we ran?” said Wallace.