June 16, 2024

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Joey Logano wins NASCAR All-Star race; Stenhouse Jr. fights Kyle Busch

Joey Logano wins NASCAR All-Star race;  Stenhouse Jr. fights Kyle Busch

Joey Logano provided the fireworks on the track in a dominating performance Sunday night, but Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch had a real flare that ended the weekend in the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Polesitter Logano put his No. 22 Ford out front, setting a record 199 of 200 laps and earning a $1 million purse, winning the Cup Series All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Without another set of soft tires, Logano remained out when NASCAR threw its planned final caution with 50 laps remaining, while many in the field took on fresh rubber.

The 2016 All-Star race winner then stayed ahead of Denny Hamlin to win the race non-points by 0.636 seconds.

“We came out here and tested and did over 800 laps of tire testing,” Logano said. “I wish this would count for points, but a million dollars would do just as well.”

In third place was Chris Buescher, who was involved in two dramatic endings over the past two weeks.

A day after qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, All-Star race winner Kyle Larson arrived at the speedway by helicopter about 90 minutes before the green flag. He came home in fourth place while Ryan Blaney finished fifth.

After Busch was squeezed into the wall with Stenhouse directly in front of him, Busch’s No. 8 Chevrolet caught Stenhouse’s No. 47 and turned him into the Turn 2 wall on Lap 2 for the first caution.

An angry Stenhouse then parked his damaged Chevrolet in the Busch pits and confronted Busch’s crew chief, Randall Burnett.

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This was carried over after the race.

With his car retiring after two laps, Stenhouse was forced to stay on the 0.625-mile speedway, which only has a tailgate to exit the infield and no tunnel. He vowed to see Bush next.

The two came face to face in Bush’s transport truck and aired their differences. Then Stenhouse suddenly connected with a right hook to the two-time Cup champion’s left cheek, and a brawl broke out.

“I’m not sure why he was so angry,” Stenhouse said. “He hit the fence and came out of the wall and crashed into me. When I was talking to him, he kept saying I smashed him.”

“It’s a built-up frustration with the way he talks about me all the time. I know he’s frustrated because he doesn’t behave as well as he used to. I understand that.”

Logano, Buescher, Blaney and Brad Keselowski – all drivers who remained out on soft tires after Stenhouse’s caution – paced the field through 50 laps.

Logano’s Ford remained in front, but Bubba Wallace’s No. 23 Toyota battled door-to-door with Logano for 25 laps to stay in front, and did so when the second yellow flag, a braided flag, waved at the halfway point to force a pit stop.

With the five soft-tyre cars running equal or better times than any other car, the teams selected soft tires during the pit stop, just as they did to start the event’s 40th running.

Logano and Christopher Bell ran side by side with 92 laps to go, but Hamlin slid into the mix and finished second behind Logano. All-Star Open winner Ty Gibbs spun for the third caution on lap 119 after Busch tapped him.

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