BRISTOL, Tenn. — Joey Logano is looking more and more like a Sprint Cup title contender.
Logano surged past Matt Kenseth with 44 laps to go and won for the first time in his career at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night, foiling the 2003 series champion’s gambling attempt to secure a spot in NASCAR’s playoffs.
Logano, 24, became the fifth driver this season to win three times, joining the Hendrick Motorsports trio of Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski, who finished second.
Is there a message in that heading into the Chase for the championship in two weeks?
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“That we can win the thing,” Logano said.
Johnson, slowed early by two pit road speeding penalties, rallied to finish fourth, and Kurt Busch was fifth.
Gordon remained the points leader despite a 16th-place run. He’s 27 clear of Earnhardt and 42 ahead of Keselowski.
Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., finished 10th.
Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw wound up 35th.
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• Nico Rosberg will start the Belgian Grand Prix from the pole position after holding off a strong challenge from his Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton.