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Joey Logano’s late move pays off in Michigan

Pole-sitter denies Harvick at finish

Joey Logano’s close win capped a strong weekend for Ford in Michigan.

John Harrelson/Getty Images

Joey Logano’s close win capped a strong weekend for Ford in Michigan.

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Joey Logano gave Ford a Sprint Cup sweep in Michigan — and enabled team owner Roger Penske to celebrate a victory in his home state.

Now Logano can start to envision a happy finish to what has been an eventful season for the 23-year-old driver.

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“We’re close, we’re close,” Logano said. “What a great place to win — what a great time to win, being in Ford’s backyard.”

Logano boosted his chances of reaching the Chase for the Sprint Cup, winning for the first time this season in a fuel-mileage race at the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway Sunday.

Logano and Kevin Harvick both breezed past Mark Martin with just over three laps to go in the 200-lap race. Martin had been trying to stretch fuel, but when he faltered, Logano was able to hold off Harvick.

The win put Logano in 13th place in the standings. He’s 7 points behind Martin Truex Jr. for the second wild card.

Martin finished 27th.

It’s been an up-and-down year for Logano. He and teammate Brad Keselowski were docked 25 points each after NASCAR inspectors confiscated parts from the rear suspensions of their cars before the April 13 race at Texas.

Everything went pretty much according to plan at Michigan. Logano won the pole Friday and took Sunday’s race by a second over Harvick, who is safely in fourth place in the standings.

There are three races left before the Chase and the jockeying for the final spots is just as muddled as it was before Sunday’s race. Keselowski, the defending champion, is still in eighth place with 667 points, but Kurt Busch is now only 2 points behind him after a third-place showing Sunday.

Greg Biffle (663) is in 10th place. Kasey Kahne (659) and Truex (653) are currently in line to be the wild cards, but Logano closed a lot of ground.

Points leader Jimmie Johnson lasted fewer than 60 laps before engine trouble knocked him out. He still has a 41-point lead over Clint Bowyer.

It was the third Cup win of Logano’s career, and it came after he posted the ninth-fastest pole-winning speed in NASCAR history during Friday’s qualifying.

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