Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Logano Is the Winner in Confusing All-Star Race

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Logano Is the Winner in Confusing All-Star Race

Article excerpt

CONCORD, N.C. * A new format to NASCAR's annual All-Star race left half the field confused to almost comical levels.

It also produced an aggressive race that ended with a thrilling finish.

Joey Logano snatched the lead away from Kyle Larson with two laps remaining Saturday night to win the $1 million exhibition event.

Although he didn't win, Larson was the star of the day. He had to race his way into the main event earlier Saturday, and earned his spot in the 20-driver field by beating Chase Elliott in a stirring last-lap door-to-door battle to the checkered flag.

Larson was competitive during the 113-lap main event and won the second segment. He had to pit for four tires, restarted in third for the final 13-lap dash-for-cash and rocketed his way to the lead. He seemed to have it in control until Logano eventually caught him. Larson tried several times to hold him off, but as the two raced side-by-side, Larson smacked the wall and the damage took him out of contention.

Logano then cruised to the win ahead of Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski, who suggested much of the race format.

Keselowski defended the format, which cut the race into three segments and included a blind draw before the final shootout that ordered a random number of cars to make a mandatory four-tire pit stop. But it also created some apparent sandbagging and a lot of confusion among the drivers.

Keselowski still thought the final result created a proper payoff.

"There was a next-to-last lap pass for the lead. There were several passes for the lead," Keselowski said. "The last four (All- Star) races, there hasn't been a pass for the lead in the last 20 or 30 laps. I think our fans deserve a better format than that, and they got that.

"I don't know how you can get much more compelling racing than what we saw today, so they need to get unconfused and enjoy the racing."

Third-place finisher Dale Earnhardt Jr. …

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