Saturday's roundup: Logano beats Larson in All-Star race

Jenna Fryer
Associated Press
Kyle Larson (42) and Joey Logano, right, race along the front stretch during the NASCAR All-Star auto race Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.

Concord, N.C. — Joey Logano won an entertaining version of NASCAR's annual All-Star race by snatching the lead away from Kyle Larson with two laps remaining Saturday night in the $1 million exhibition event.

Larson had raced his way into the main event earlier Saturday by beating Chase Elliott in a stirring last-lap door-to-door battle to the checkered flag. He then rocketed to the lead in the All-Star race by using four fresh tires to drive to the front on the restart of the 13-lap dash-for-cash.

Logano eventually caught him and Larson tried several times to hold him off, but as the two raced side-by-side, Larson smacked the wall and the damage took him out of contention.

Logano then cruised to the win ahead of Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills).

Crafton wins trucks race

Now that he has won back-to-back Trucks Series races for the first time in his career, Matt Crafton is hoping for more.

Crafton beat Kyle Busch by a convincing margin at Charlotte Motor Speedway, setting him up for a huge season.

"It feels very good," Crafton said. "Sometime brought that to my attention last week that we hadn't won two in a row. It feels very, very sweet to say we have done it back-to-back. Now maybe we can go for three."

After winning last week at Dover, the 39-year-old Crafton was strong again leading 47 of 134 laps while adding to his series points lead.

Crafton said his car was "unbelievable" from the first lap and only needed tire adjustments throughout the race.

He has experienced plenty of success on 1.5-mile race tracks, winning five of his last 11 races on the longer courses.

Busch finished second, while Johnny Sauter was third. Tyler Reddick finished fourth and Matt Tifft finished in fifth place after starting 18th.

Hinchcliffe takes top seed 

James Hinchcliffe never fretted about posting the best four-lap average in qualifying at Indianapolis.

All he wanted was a chance to win the pole Sunday.

The Canadian driver who nearly died last year from a life-threatening leg injury sustained during practice for the 500, survived two challenges in the final 25 minutes and barely held onto the top seed with a speed of 230.946 mph. Ryan Hunter-Reay was second at 230.805 on the next-to-last run in the session. Team Penske's Will Power came in third at 230.736.

"Our first run, that was the hardest qualifying attempt I'd ever done at the speedway here," Hinchcliffe said. "When you kind of take a step back and let yourself think about it a little bit, it does feel good."

To complete his comeback with a pole-winning run for the May 29 centennial race, Hinchcliffe must do it all over Sunday.

The nine fastest drivers from Saturday will compete in a late afternoon pole shootout, and if it resembles anything like the first day of qualifications, fans could be in for a real treat.

The lead changed twice in the final 40 minutes, nearly changed two more times in the last 25 minutes and included Russia's Mikhail Aleshin bumping his way into the shootout on the final run of the day. Hinchcliffe and Aleshin are teammates with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Another Andretti driver, Townsend Bell, led most of the afternoon and his 230.452 and held up until three-time 500 champion Helio Castroneves, of Brazil, went 230.500. Then, after American Graham Rahal made his second attempt, Hinchcliffe drove onto the track and moved past Castroneves.

The biggest problem might have been the weather.

Rain delayed practice by more than 4½ hours, and when the cars finally made it onto the 2.5-mile oval, the conditions were totally different. When the sun came out, the track temperature warmed up and the wind gusts began, drivers found themselves fighting to stay on the track.