In a race that both started strangely and ended strangely - after being delayed 24 hours by rain - Joey Logano passed Jeff Gordon on the final lap to win Monday's Duck Commander 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway. It is the fourth-career win for Logano and the 77th for Team Penske in Sprint Cup competition.
Gordon took second, while a wild last-lap scrum for third ended in favor of Kyle Busch. Brian Vickers and rookie phenom Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five. Greg Biffle was sixth, followed by Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, and Paul Menard. Polesitter Tony Stewart completed the top-10 after leading 69 laps.
The race was extended to 340 laps by a green-white-checkered finish after a shredded left rear tire on Kurt Busch's Chevrolet drew the caution with the white flag in Logano's sights. Logano led teammate Brad Keselowski and the rest of the field onto pit road. Gordon and Vickers beat the two Penske Fords off pit lane, and the running order was further jumbled by a speeding penalty that doomed Keselowski to a 15th-place result. Logano tailed Gordon for most of the first lap after the restart, finally pulling inside the No. 24 Chevrolet - specially painted in the colors of Texas A&M University - at the white flag before taking the lead for good in turn one.
The wild finish was fitting, given the unusual circumstances under which the race began.
With weepers still plaguing the 1.5-mile speedway, the race opened with ten laps under a green-yellow condition. The race went green at lap 11, only to be slowed almost immediately by a bizarre accident involving points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. as he tried to pass Aric Almirola on the front stretch. Earnhardt admittedly misjudged the location of the saturated grass, and the left-front corner of his car was nearly ripped away when he hit the marsh. The No. 88 Chevrolet shot across the track into the outside wall, bursting into flames and rolling the entire length of turns one and two before coming to a rest on the backstretch. Earnhardt was unhurt but his race was done.
Also invovled in the incident was Jimmie Johnson, who was trailing Earnhardt at the time of the incident. Debris from Earnhardt's car battered the nose and windshield of his teammate's No. 48 Chevrolet, and Johnson was left to limp to a 25th-place finish, two laps off of Logano's pace.
Shortly after the restart from Earnhardt's accident, the miserable luck that has plagued Kevin Harvick throughout his first two months with Stewart-Haas Racing reared its head once more when the engine blew as he battled Stewart for the lead. Harvick, who wound up 42nd, now has four finishes of 36th or worse in his first seven races for the SHR team.
With Earnhardt's disastrous outing, Gordon assumes the Sprint Cup point lead by four markers over Kenseth. Earnhardt, meanwhile, fell to sixth, his lowest position all season.