Sunday's motors: Joey Logano beats Kyle Busch in overtime at Gateway
Madison, Ill. — Joey Logano jockeyed for the lead with Kyle Busch in overtime, got around him for good just before the white flag flew and cruised to the victory Sunday in the NASCAR Cup Series debut at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Logano made it a banner day for Team Penske, which won the IndyCar race with Will Power earlier in the day in Detroit.
Kurt Busch finished second with Logano's teammate, Ryan Blaney, fourth and Aric Almirola in fifth in a wild race that contained plenty of drama involving Ross Chastain, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott deeper in the field.
Chastain got into both of them at different points, leading to a series of on-track retaliations.
By the end, Logano had watched Kyle Busch drive away from him on a restart with 13 laps remaining, then got another chance when Kevin Harvick crashed with five to go. That led to a green-white-checkered finish at the 1 1/4-mile hairpin east of St. Louis, and Busch chose the outside lane as Logano drove his No. 22 car to the inside once again.
This time it was Logano that won the drag race to Turn 1 and moved up in front of Busch, who crossed him over and took the lead into the sweeping third and fourth turns. That's where Logano went low and pulled ahead, gaining the space he needed to pull away when Busch got a little sideways coming out of Turn 4.
The first Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway, nestled just across the Mississippi River from the Gateway Arch and downtown St. Louis, produced a thrilling throwback to the early years of NASCAR, when tempers in the cars ran just as hot as the temperature outside — it soared over 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the sun.
Chastain had a lot to do with it.
The trouble for the eighth-generation watermelon farmer began in Stage 2, when Chastain ran up on Hamlin's rear end coming out of the hairpin first and second turns and sent the No. 11 into the outside wall.
Hamlin spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get even: He nearly drove Chastain down onto the grass down the back stretch, then slowed to a crawl around the track and nearly kept him from making the minimum speed.
Hamlin had some support, too. Chastain got into Elliott's quarter panel later in the stage, spinning him out. And when the race resumed, Elliott nearly nudged Chastain into the wall before Hamlin took a swipe at him.
All the drama kept a sellout crowd of more than 60,000 on their feet in the blistering afternoon sun.