Joey Logano wins incident-free first stage at Richmond

Joey Logano grabbed the lead early and held off Aric Almirola to claim the Stage 1 victory at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.

It’s Logano’s first stage win of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and only the second in his career.

Kurt Busch finished third, William Byron fourth and Clint Bowyer completed the top-five.

Finishing in the Top 10 and also collecting stage points were Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick.

Truex, the pole-winner, quickly moved out to the lead at the start and within five laps had a more than one-second advantage over Larson.

By Lap 12, Kyle Busch, who started 32nd, had moved up into the Top 20 and was closing in on the Top 15. Busch grabbed 15th place on Lap 18.

On Lap 19, Jimmie Johnson tagged the Turn 2 wall and there was smoke trailing from his No. 48 Chevrolet.

On Lap 35, Kyle Busch entered the Top 10 for the first time as his brother, Kurt, moved up to third. Four laps later, Logano made his way around Truex and into the lead for the first time in the race.

With 50 laps remaining in the first stage, Logano held a solid lead over Truex, followed by Kurt Busch, Elliott and Harvick.

With 40 laps remaining, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made a green-flag pit stop for new tires and Kurt Busch moved into second behind leader Logano. Stenhouse fell two laps down by the time he returned to the track.

With 30 to go in the stage, Erik Jones fell a lap down and frustrated. “I don't know what to do right here. I'm trying to stay calm,” he said over his team radio. “The front tires don't work.

“I touch the throttle and it just goes straight.”

Hendrick Motorsports teammates Johnson and Alex Bowman had both fell a lap down with 12 laps remaining.

With nine laps remaining, Stenhouse had raced his way back onto the lead lap on fresh tires, putting him in good position to begin Stage 2.

On Lap 95, Almirola moved into the second position behind leader Logano and was gaining ground as Stage 1 drew to a close.

 

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Richmond
Track Richmond International Raceway
Drivers Joey Logano
Teams Team Penske
Article type Race report