BROOKLYN, Mich. — Don’t be fooled by Joey Logano’s smile and boyish looks.
Underneath the surface, he’s as tough as nails, and he’ll run you down, whoever you are, on the racetrack.
On Sunday, 23-year-old Logano grabbed his first win for Penske Racing when he drove his No. 22 Ford to victory in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.
He chased his childhood hero, Mark Martin, hard over the closing stages, taking the lead with three laps remaining after Martin’s No. 55 Toyota ran out of fuel.
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Logano, who started on the pole, kept Cup veterans Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch at bay — the two pursuers finishing second and third, respectively.
Logano moved from 16th in series points to 13th with three races remaining before the Chase for the Championship — NASCAR’s playoff series — and he appears a good bet, considering his momentum, to make it.
“What a great time to win, being in Ford’s backyard, being in Roger’s (Penske) backyard. I’m glad to make the most of it,” Logano said.
It was Logano’s first win in 2013 and the third of his Cup career, which began full time at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2009.
Harvick kept the pressure on Logano and moved to fourth in points. Busch moved two spots to ninth.
Defending Cup champion and Penske driver Brad Keselowski led 17 laps in his No. 2 Ford but got caught out on pit strategy and cautions. He finished 12th and remains eighth in points.
Greg Biffle from Vancouver, Wash., finished ninth after winning the previous two Cup races at Michigan. He is in 10th place in points. Kasey Kahne from Enumclaw placed seventh and is 11th in points.
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• Rookie Marc Marquez from Spain passed two-time motorcycle world champion Jorge Lorenzo of Spain midway through the Indianapolis Grand Prix and pulled away for a 3.495-second victory.