LEBANON, Tenn. (AP) — Joey Logano stretched his fuel enough to hold off a group of pursuers at the finish line Sunday night and win the Ally 400 in a NASCAR Cup Series record fifth overtime.

Logano held off a charge by Tyler Reddick, then beat Zane Smith, Reddick, Ryan Preece and Chris Buescher to the line in a race that started nearly six hours earlier at Nashville Superspeedway and went 31 laps longer than the 300 that were scheduled.

“It’s a much-needed win for sure,” a smiling and relieved Logano said of his first victory this year and 33rd of his career.

It looked like Denny Hamlin had chased down Ross Chastain for his fourth Cup win this year with seven laps left. Hamlin led 70 laps and Austin Cindric’s crash set up the chaotic finish with Hamlin running out of gas and finishing 12th.

“It certainly stinks,” said Hamlin, who thought he was seconds from a victory.

A thunderstorm that forced NASCAR to halt the race for 1 hour, 21 minutes washed off the traction that had built up on the 1.33-mile concrete oval. As a result, several cars got loose and crashed into the wall or slid into the grass.

That helped set up a thrilling race after Christopher Bell won the first two stages before crashing.

Hamlin took the lead going high into Turn 1, and Chastain went to the apron trying to hold him off and wobbled. That was enough for Hamlin to pass Chastain’s Chevrolet in what turned out to be only the first late lead change of a race that seemed like it would never end with repeated crashes on restarts.

“I had a shot to win,” said Chastain, who led 45 laps while seeking his first win since the 2023 season finale at Phoenix.

Cindric set up the repeating overtimes when he made contact with Noah Gragson with two laps left. On the restart, points leader Kyle Larson caught the apron and slid with the right corner of his Chevrolet sending Chastain into the wall in Turn 1 for the 12th caution.

Larson then ran out of gas on another restart, causing Kyle Busch to crash into him. That forced Hamlin to go to the pits for more gas, scrambling the field for another try at a finish.

Bell, who won last week at New Hampshire, won the first two stages before hitting the wall on lap 228.

“Just put myself in a bad spot and lost my cool,” Bell said. “Got back in traffic with all those yellow flags. Had a bad restart.”

Drivers tried to run as many laps as possible before an incoming thunderstorm on a steamy, humid Tennessee afternoon.

Lightning brought out the red flag stopping the race after 137 laps with clouds in Turn 4 so heavy that it looked like a funnel was trying to form before heavy rain. The storm moved through quickly and dryers hit the track about 25 minutes after racing stopped.

Barely a half-hour after the race stopped, a rainbow could be seen. NASCAR sent drivers back to their cars about 70 minutes after the red flag, and the stoppage lasted 81 minutes with 143 laps remaining.

As cars hit the track under yellow, NASCAR sent Cindric to the rear as a penalty for his crew having a fan on the pit wall pointed at his car during the red flag that was ruled as possibly cooling the vehicle for an extra edge.

Not his day

John Hunter Nemechek won his second Xfinity Series race this year Saturday, then made his first Cup start at this track Sunday. The experience didn’t carry over. Nemechek spun into the grass off Turn 4 of lap 117 to bring out the second caution of the race.

Up next

The Chicago street race on July 7.

___

AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing

More about: