“That was the hardest-fought top-five I’ve ever had in my life,” Logano said. “We went from 20th there with 40 or 50 (laps) to go to finishing fifth. We’re proud of that.”
Logano’s night started slowly. His right-front suffered severe damage after bumping Kyle Busch early in the race. Logano was later set back by a run-in with Denny Hamlin and a piece of debris on his grille. Each time, he battled back. All in all, it was an eventful night for the driver who looked like a long shot for the Chase a few weeks ago.
“I tell you what,” Logano said, “I’m worn out because that was a lot of work. I dug my heart out and this whole team dug their heart out the whole day and this is what we’ve got to do.”
“We missed the set-up really bad at the beginning of the race,” Martin said. “We struggled with the car in trying to get it better, and then I pitted wrong and cost us a lap and that was the beginning of the end.”
Busch was forced to the garage for repairs and ended up finishing 31st. He dropped to 12th in points.
“Well, we are down, but we are not out,” he said. “We have two races to go, and I heard we are only six points out of 10th.”
Five key moments
1. Kurt Busch leads 54 of the first 76 laps, but a broken wheel hub and subsequent pit road speeding penalty knock him out of contention early.
2. Clint Bowyer is wrecked while leading the race on Lap 176 as lapped traffic causes the first of many incidents.
3. Matt Kenseth takes the lead for the first time on Lap 236 and he would go on to lead the most laps (149).
4. An eight-car wreck on Lap 447 collects several Chase contenders, including Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr.
5. Kasey Kahne moves into second with 12 laps left and does everything but wreck Kenseth in an attempt to get around him. Kenseth holds on for the win.
Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Ga.