June 22, 2024
Motorsports

Joey Logano’s Dominance in All-Star Race Evident as he Completes 800 Practice Laps for $1 Million Prize

NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. — Joey Logano’s preparation paid off as he dominated the short track at North Wilkesboro Speedway, leading all but one of 200 laps to secure his second All-Star Race victory on Sunday night and take home $1 million.

Starting from the pole after posting the fastest time in qualifying on Saturday, Logano never faced a serious challenge, setting a record by leading more laps than any driver in the race’s 40-year history.

“We were so fast,” Logano remarked. “We came here before for testing and ran over 800 laps, really figuring out what it would take to win the race.”

Reflecting on his preparation, Logano likened it to a scene from the movie “Miracle” about the 1980 United States Olympic hockey team, where crew chief Paul Wolfe had him run laps until exhaustion.

“It’s like when the coach is making the team run the suicide drills and he keeps saying, ‘Again! Again!’,” Logano explained. “That was Paul Wolfe to me with the testing. I ran 800 laps. I was sore and I had enough.”

Despite not winning a points race this season, Logano viewed the victory as a significant boost for his team.

“The first thing that goes through your mind is gosh, I wish this counted for points,” Logano admitted. “But let’s be honest, a million is a lot of money and counts for something.”

This marks Logano’s second All-Star Race win, with his first coming in 2016.

In a race that lacked drama for the second consecutive year at the renovated track, Denny Hamlin finished second and Chris Buescher third.

Kyle Larson, who arrived shortly before the race after qualifying fifth for the Indianapolis 500 and flying to North Wilkesboro, finished fourth but fell short in his quest to tie Jimmie Johnson for the most All-Star Race wins with four.

The anticipated increase in passing due to the newly paved track and different soft tire variations did not materialize.

Hamlin acknowledged his struggles to overtake Logano, stating, “I would run to him, and then you couldn’t pass.”

Logano attributed his success to being in clean air and out front, stating, “If it wasn’t for the clean air, I would not have won.”

The race saw a moment of controversy on the second lap, as Kyle Busch sent Ricky Stenhouse Jr. into the wall after a passing attempt. This led to a confrontation between the drivers and their crews, with Stenhouse expressing frustration with Busch’s actions.

Larson’s last-minute arrival at North Wilkesboro Speedway was met with cheers from fans, as he rushed to prepare for the 200-lap exhibition race following a busy afternoon.

Seventeen drivers qualified for the race based on their past accomplishments, with Ty Gibbs, Bubba Wallace, and fan vote winner Noah Gragson advancing into the race. Larson’s impressive qualifying runs at Indianapolis drew praise from Hendrick Motorsports vice president of competition Chad Knaus.

Overall, Logano’s dominant performance and victory at the All-Star Race showcased the importance of thorough preparation and adaptability in NASCAR competition.

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AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing

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