Joey Logano made it two wins from three races and clinched his third victory of the year by crossing the line at Bristol Motor Speedway a slender 0.220s ahead of Kevin Harvick in the Irwin Tools Night Race on Saturday night, making it back-to-back victories at this annual event for the 25-year-old Penske driver.

"It's cool to win at Bristol, it's cool to be racing [some] of the best out there," said Logano, who also won a fortnight ago at Watkins Glen at a very different track to the half-mile short oval. "Winning a road course is really, really cool earlier just to have that on there, but winning at Bristol it's just such a driver's race track. It's such a tough place to get around.

"You never get a break. Bristol, you start the race and say: 'Oh boy, this is gonna be a long one.' You know it's going to be a tough, gruelling race, but it puts on a great race and I enjoy coming here," he explained. " It's so long and you're just shot at the end of it mentally and physically and your car is wore out and you're trying to get everything you can. There's rubber everywhere and you're trying to stay out of that, but you're trying to run fast laps and you're trying to work around other cars.

"It was all about working lap traffic right at the end, not making mistakes and not getting bottled up in traffic to get by. It was a very exciting last 20-30 laps for sure, and neat to be able to get a chequered flag again here at Bristol and pull that car up on top of the building here and get a big chequered flag and have a little bit of fun with the guys."

Full NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race results from Bristol Motor Speedway

When the race started in the early evening with the sun setting and the floodlights just starting to take over, it had looked like the night was going to be another Joe Gibbs Racing affair with Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards lining up in the top three followed by a fourth member of the extended Toyota family in fourth in the form of Michael Waltrip Racing's David Ragan. Sure enough, between them the JGR trio would lead for 320 laps during the night leaving Logano with all but four of the remainder, although those raw figures hide the fact that in the final run to the flag it was Harvick who was the main threat to Logano's repeat win but who ultimately was held back by too many mistakes by SHR on pit road earlier in the race.

Between them, Hamlin and Busch led for the first stint through to the first caution of the race for debris on lap 51. Busch took charge for the next phase which lasted until lap 127 when Kyle Larson suffered a flat tyre on the Ganassi #42, and then it was Hamlin out in front until the third caution on lap 147 for AJ Allmendinger hitting the wall. Busch took the lead at the restart and stayed out in front until lap 224, but then it was Logano who started to show his hand by taking charge for the first time having started from fifth place and who had never been far away from the leaders all evening.

The leaders pitted under a debris caution at the halfway point on lap 250, which saw Logano drop back down the running order. For once it was neither Busch nor Hamlin who led the field to green but rather their team mate Carl Edwards who took charge for a spell and pulled out a one second lead over the rest. Busch eventually reeled him in and took back the lead again on lap 280, but 20 laps later Edwards executed and gentleman's excuse me for a second spell at the front.

A round of green flag pit stops was interrupted by Larson hitting the wall on lap 359 just after Logano had worked his way back to the front ahead of Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson, while Kevin Harvick's promising run was hit by a pit lane speeding penalty that put him to the back of the lead lap. While there were only 14 cars nominally on that lap, there was also a load of lapped traffic between Harvick and Logano that would be tricky to overcome at such a cramped circuit. At least he'd had experience of that situation already tonight, as a penalty for his crew being too quick to vault over the wall during a round of pit stops on lap 128 had seen him drop to the back once already.

Having started from fourth place, David Ragan was still in the same position when it came to the restart, just the sort of showing that the MWR driver needed after the mid-week news that the team would be closing its doors at the end of the current season and Ragan was in essence auditioning for a new job in 2016. Unfortunately all that good work came to an end shortly after the restart when he was clipped from behind by his team mate Clint Bowyer as the pair battled with Johnson. The contact sent him spinning out into the backstretch wall, ending his night's work.

"Damn, you hate to have two good cars and the last person you want to get into and have trouble with is your team mate," said Bowyer after the race. "I've been sick to death about that. We had two top five cars and MWR really needed that run."

The next restart saw another rapid caution when Roush Fenway's Ricky Stenhouse Jr. hit the wall on lap 383. When the race got back underway with 100 laps remaining, not only was Logano still out in front but his team mate Brad Keselowski was right behind him - the Penske team had seemingly broken the JGR domination of the night's proceedings at just the right moment.

Busch's attempts to strike back were undone by a pit lane speeding penalty during a round of stops held under a debris caution on lap 429, meaning that like Harvick before him the long-time race leader would now have to work his way through all that crowded traffic if he wished to feature in the race to the finish line. The problem for Busch was that when the race went green again there were just 66 laps left, which might sound a lot but when each of those circuits takes just 15s each it meant that there really wasn't much time left at all, and ultimately Busch would only manage to rally from 14th to eighth place - less than he was hoping for from one of his most successful tracks on the calendar, but at least a solid performance in terms of reinforcing his hopes of making it through to the Chase.

Logano took control again for what proved to be the final restart of the night. Hamlin and Harvick battled it out for second place and it was Harvick who emerged as the strongest contender to hunt the race leader down, but a composed Logano kept things together and never let the pressure show even as Harvick loomed ever closer.

"It was kind of interesting to watch it in the mirror," said Logano of Harvick's attempts to catch and pass him in the closing laps. "I was watching him drive in and I was like, 'He's going to get me eventually,' so I just wanted to make sure I stayed at least three or four car lengths up on him so he didn't get to me."

In the end, Harvick didn't have quite enough to pull off the move and when the chequered flag came out he had to settle for second place ahead of Hamlin, Johnson and Bowyer, with Brad Keselowski in sixth ahead of JGR team mates Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch.

"We had an interesting night," Harvick said after the finish. "We went to the back twice and passed a bunch of cars. I think all in all, it's just a huge credit to the team. They just keep bringing fast cars to the racetrack, and we're able to overcome a lot of things and everybody just keeps grinding away at whatever the circumstances are, and we're able to overcome things, and that's really what it's going to be about over the last ten weeks [in the Chase.]"

"Could hang with them for the first part of the run, but then I couldn't work traffic that well and those guys were able to get away," said Hamlin after finishing third. "Just a decent average day. Definitely not what we expected."

The top ten was rounded out by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman. Earnhardt could have fared much better but was held back by a problem on pit road during his first stop early in the race when the front tyre changer accidentally knocked two lugnuts off the right front tyre and the team had to call the #88 back to fix the problem.

"We've had some issues," Earnhardt said, adding that it would be up to crew chief Greg Ives to sort out any issues among the pit team. "I'm going to let Greg handle that. He sees what's going on. I still tonight don't know exactly what happened, and I really don't want to. I don't want to have a personal opinion."

There was disappointment for Martin Truex Jr. as the usually highly reliable and consistent Furniture Row Racing #78 hit problems late in the race. Having already been forced to the backup car after a broken left-control arm led to a crash in practice on Friday and also suffering a lugnut issue of his own during a mid-race pit stop, Truex was then blackflagged by NASCAR on lap 443 for loose sheet metal on the driver-side door. Forced to pit under green for repairs, Truex ended up in a disappointing 28th place at the line. "Too many obstacles to overcome in one weekend," was Truex's succinct summary of the situation.

At least he made it all the way to the finish, however, unlike Matt Kenseth who was the only member of the JGR contingent to retire on Saturday night. His engine let go just 110 laps into the night's race. leaving him watching the rest of the action from pit lane, although in strict terms it does him no harm when it comes to the championship position which is what it's really all about at this stage of the season.

"It broke in the middle of the straightaway, it had that hop and that noise that it makes when you know you dropped a valve," Kenseth explained. "Unfortunate, but man these guys at [engine providers] TRD have been doing such an awesome job, we've had so much power and everything has been really reliable here the last year and a half.

"Things like that happen and we'll go back and get it fixed up. The encouraging part is that our cars are really fast and I thought we were an adjustment away from having what we really needed to run with everybody."

In terms of the Chase, Logano's three wins now make him third seed for the play-offs behind Johnson and Kyle Busch, both of whom currently have four wins apiece. Kenseth also has three wins so far in 2015, while Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch have two each. Also locked in to the Chase with one win so far this season are Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr.

The remaining five places in the play-offs are currently decided on points. The top nine drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings are all already race winners with Harvick's lead at the top trimmed back five points to 43 points over Logano. The highest-placed driver not already guaranteed a Chase berth on wins is Ganassi's Jamie McMurray in tenth followed by Richard Childress Racing pair Ryan Newman and Paul Menard and Hendrick's Jeff Gordon. Currently on the bubble is Clint Bowyer, while Richard Petty Motorsports' Aric Almirola, Hendrick's Kasey Kahne and Roush Fenway's Greg Biffle are all on the wrong side of the cut and likely need to win one of the two remaining races at Darlington or Richmond before the Chase cut off.

The first of these races - the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway - is in two weeks time on September 6 after a rare rest weekend for the Cup teams.

Full race results from Bristol Motor Speedway and updated Sprint Cup Championship standings.

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