By AMANDA VINCENT
Joey Logano only led one lap of the 90-lap Cheez-It 355 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Sunday, but it was the biggest one — the last one. The resulting win was Logano’s second of the season, the first one coming back in February in the season-opening Daytona 500. The win at The Glen was Logano’s first Cup-level road course win and was the first for Team Penske at the track.
Logano took the lead on the final lap as Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel. Logano was the race leader in the closing laps a week earlier at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., when he ran out of fuel and saw a win drift away. At Watkins Glen on Sunday, though, the fuel mileage game played out in his favor.
“I was running down Harvick there for a little bit and once I got close to him, he started to pick up his pace a little bit, which was good, because I needed him to run out of gas,” Logano said. “I started to catch him a little bit, and I drove into one too hard and started to wheel hop. I just about lost it, and at that point, you just hope he runs out of gas, which he did in the last corner. It makes up for last week. We lost the race last week the same way, so it makes up for it to get it this week.”
Sunday’s win completed a weekend sweep for Logano after he won the Xfinity Series race, also at The Glen, on Saturday.
Kyle Busch finished second and moved into the top-30 of the points standings. With four races remaining until the Chase, Busch sits 30th, one point behind 29th-place Justin Allgaier and six points ahead of 31st-place driver Cole Whitt.
“We knew we would be (in the top-30),” Busch said. “It was just a matter of time. That was probably another reason we didn’t need to run out of gas and have an issue here today.”
Harvick coasted to a third-place finish after leading a race-high 29 laps of the 90-lap race.
Matt Kenseth finished fourth, and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five.
Harvick, Kenseth, and a handful of others made their last stops on lap 51, just before a red flag for track clean-up of a multi-car wreck. Their fuel conservation efforts were assisted by one additional caution on lap 57, the fifth yellow flag of the race, but Harvick and others on the same strategy hoped for additional caution laps that never came.
“I thought I’d done a pretty good job of saving fuel under the caution,” Harvick said. “I was just running as fast as I needed to, to protect the lead. All in all, our Budweiser/Jimmy John’s team did a great job today, and we were in position to have a win, two corners away.”
Logano and Kyle Busch were among those who pitted under the final caution, Logano for fuel only and Busch for fuel and tires. Logano was up to third by 10 laps to go. By five to go, Logano was up to second and Busch to third.
A.J. Allmendinger started the race on the pole with Martin Truex Jr. alongside on the front row. Allmendinger led the first 20 laps before being passed by Truex for the top spot on lap 21.
Truex lost his lead during the first caution of the race that came on lap 25 when Whitt, Brad Keselowski and a few others stayed out on the race track. Keselowski got out in front of Whitt to take the lead on the restart and maintained the top spot until Kyle Busch got by him just before the final caution.
Clint Bowyer finished sixth, Keselowski seventh, Carl Edwards eighth, Sam Hornish Jr. ninth and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top-10.
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