Joey Logano pulled past Mark Martin in the final laps Sunday at Pocono Raceway to become the first Sprint Cup driver to win from the pole position this season.
Logano won the race after Pocono moved from a 500-mile to 400-mile Cup race for the 2012 season.
The victory is only the second of Logano’s career in Cup racing since his rain-shortened win at New Hampshire.
The 22-year-old had the best car all weekend, posting the fastest practice time on Friday and taking the pole on Saturday.
Finishing in the top five were Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin.
For the young racer the victory couldn’t have come at a better time, his four-year contract with Joe Gibbs Racing is about to expire and he has been under extended pressure to pull off some wins.
Speaking in victory lane Joey told reporters of his added pressure and attacks from critics:
“I hope it shuts them all up. It means a whole lot.”
Martin who took the lead with eight laps left was one of Logano’s earliest supporters and ultimately the 54-year-old lost his lead with only three laps remaining in the race. After the race in which Logano bumped Martin out-of-the-way he proclaimed:
“I’d call that a bump-and-run. It has been acceptable in this racing for a long time. It’s not how I would have done it. Certainly, had I had a fast enough car, he would have gotten a return.”
Logano has performed far better in the second-tier Nationwide Series where he has 13 career wins including four this season.
For Martin the 2 1/2 mile track at Pocono is one of the races that has still evaded him, in 51 career Cup races he has finished second seven times and has yet to win on the track.