Joey Logano wins one the right way at Pocono

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Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent

Joey Logano took the checkered flag first with his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the Pocono 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday for his second-career win, with the first coming in a rain-shortened race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2009.

"It feels awesome to finally win one the right way," Logano told his crew over the radio right after taking the checkered flag.

Mark Martin finished second in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, his seventh- career second-place finish at Pocono. Tony Stewart was third in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

I didn't want to get into the back of Mark there.

Mark Martin

"We were racing hard, man," Martin said of his late-race battle with Logano. "I wanted to win it so bad. I fought for it tooth and nail."

Logano started from the pole and led the way until pit strategies began to vary during the second caution of the race that came out on lap 14. Jamie McMurray in the No. 1 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Brad Keselowski in the No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge and Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota opted to stay out to move into the top-three spots in the running order.

Pit strategies varied for the remainder of the race, with some teams adopting a road- course pit mentality of calculating stops from the end of the race, while others made stops to top off with fuel anytime the opportunity presented itself.

Regardless of the strategies of when to pit or not to pit and whether to take on tires and how many, pit road speeding was a problem for about one-third of the drivers in the race. Some drivers, including Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, were even caught speeding twice.

Strategy got Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford to the front to battle for the lead for several laps near the midway point of the race.

In the late going, though, Kenseth's car faded and pit strategy under a caution with 24 laps to go shuffled Earnhardt back to 16th. By the end of the race, Kenseth slid back to seventh and Earnhardt worked his way back up to eighth to jump past Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, in the championship points standings.

Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Former points leader Biffle finished 24th because of an engine failure and fell to third in points, with Kenseth moving into the lead and Earnhardt to second, up from third.

Following that caution with 24 to go, Logano was back in the lead, with Martin in second. Martin got by Logano to take the top spot on a restart following a lap 149 caution, but with four to go, his No. 55 bobbled, causing Logano to make contact. After the contact, Logano retook the lead and drove on to the win.

"I knew my car was better than his, and clean air means so much," Logano said. "I didn't want to get into the back of Mark there."

The win was the third at the Sprint Cup level for Logano's crew chief, Jason Ratcliff.

"It means so much," Logano said in victory lane of being the driver to deliver Ratcliff his first win.

Johnson overcame his two pit road speeding penalties to finish fourth, and Hamlin rounded out the top-five. Clint Bowyer was sixth in the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. The No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Paul Menard was ninth, and McMurray rounded out the top-10.

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags featured, gibbs, logano, long pond, martin, stewart, toyota, vincent