6/10/2012 3:21:35 PM
Logano, who is 22 years old, led the way for the final restart with eight laps
remaining, but 53-year-old Martin passed him in turn one to take the top
position. Logano came storming back, as he chased down Martin and then bumped
him out of the way to grab the lead for good with four laps to go.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver crossed the finish line one second ahead of Martin
for his second win in his 125th Sprint Cup Series start.
"I didn't want to get into the back of Mark there, but I just kind of run into
him at speed, and he was getting free, and I just kind of stayed right there,"
Logano's maiden victory in NASCAR's premier series came in June 2009 at New
Hampshire, a race that was shortened due to rain.
"It's awesome to finally get to victory lane the right way," he added.
Logano also became the first driver in 31 Sprint Cup races to start on the
pole and drive to victory lane. He led a race-high 49 laps.
Logano, who is in the final year of his contract with JGR, has 13 victories in
NASCAR's second-tier series (Nationwide), including four this season.
Martin recorded his seventh runner-up finish in 51 races at Pocono. He has yet
to win at this unique 2.5-mile triangular oval.
"We were racing so hard," Martin said. "I wanted to win really bad. Believe it
or not, I fought for it tooth and nail."
Tony Stewart, the defending Sprint Cup champion, finished third, while Jimmie
Johnson bounced back from two speeding penalties on pit road and a one-lap
deficit in the early going to place fourth.
NASCAR issued a total of 22 pit-road speeding penalties during the 400-mile
race at Pocono. This track has hosted 500-mile events each year since the
series began competing here in 1974.
Pocono received a new coat of asphalt since the last Cup race was held here 10
months ago. The repaved surface led to record speeds in Saturday's qualifying.
Logano turned in a lap at 179.598 mph for the pole, which was 7 mph faster
than Kasey Kahne's previous record at this track, set in 2004.
But drivers found it difficult to pass throughout the race here.
"It was just so hard to pass," Stewart said. "Everybody knew that going into
(this race). It's something that only time will take care of it...Just makes
for a very long and hard day."
It's the first time Pocono had been repaved since 1995.
Denny Hamlin finished fifth, followed by Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth. Dale
Earnhardt Jr., Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray completed the top-10.
Kenseth took over the points lead from his Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Greg
Biffle, after he finished 24th. Biffle suffered a broken cylinder in the late
stages of the race.
After the 14th race of the season, Kenseth holds a 10-point advantage over
Earnhardt Jr., while Biffle is 16 points behind.
The series will compete at Pocono again in two months.