Joey Logano held off a fast-closing Kevin Harvick to win Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
It was the third victory of the season for Team Penske’s Logano, who won the same event in 2014.
Harvick’s runner-up finish came despite two penaltiesearlier in the race for pit road infractions. He continues to lead the Sprint Cup Series points standings, however, by 43 points ahead of Logano.
Pole-winner Denny Hamlin finished third, with Jimmie Johnson fourth and Kasey Kahne fifth.
“It was kind of interesting watching him in my mirror,” Logano said of Harvick. “I thought he was going to catch me. It was like he’d almost get on my back bumper, but then I’d run off really good.”
Hamlin led the first 26 laps before Kyle Busch passed him. Both leaders soon began passing lapped traffic after that.
Busch maintained his lead through the first 100-plus laps. But Kyle Larson, who started 12th, worked his way to the front of the field and passed Hamlin for second, where he stayed for several laps.
But Larson’s left front tire went down on Lap 127, dropping him to 21st after he went to pit road.
Hamlin came out of the pits first during Larson’s caution, and he kept the lead until Busch again passed him on Lap 154.
Logano then made his move, passing Busch for the lead on Lap 224. Clint Bowyer, racing for the first time since news earlier in theweek that he and Michael Waltrip Racing are cutting ties at the end of the season, then got past Busch for second on Lap 231.
But the next lead change belonged to Carl Edwards, who came out of the pits first after a debris caution on Lap 253.
Edwards and Logano went back and forth with the lead for several laps before Edwards had to pit with a flat tire on Lap 353.
MWR’s David Ragan wrecked on Lap 368 after making contact with Jimmie Johnson, with Bowyer also involved.
Matt Kenseth, who had won two of three races, didn’t finish this one after his engine blew on Lap 111. It was the second DNF of the season for Kenseth, the first coming at Dover in May when he had suspension problems.
“Things just happen,” said Kenseth. “We broke something in the engine – dropped a valve I think. The TRD (Toyota Racing Development) stuff has been awesome, making great power, been really reliable and things like this just happen sometimes. Overall we had a great car. I thought we were an adjustment away from being able to run with the boys upfront so unfortunate I got cut short.”
Kenseth said the engine gave him no warning that it was about to expire.
“They never warn you,” he said. “It would be cool if they would send you a text or something. Just the middle of the straightaway it made that pop where you knew that was it.”
The Cup series takes a week off before returning to Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for the Southern 500 on Sept. 6. The regular season wraps up Sept. 12 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.