Via FOX Sports Broadcast
The 5th stop of the 2023 NASCAR Season brings us to Atlanta Motor Speedway. After the Xfinity and Truck races were filled with wrecks and crashes, the Cup race delivered with much cleaner racing and even a clean finish. Ultimately it was Joey Logano who won after dominating the race.
Joey Logano Scores First Win For Ford
The 2022 NASCAR champion Joey Logano was able to score his first win since Phoenix last fall, and in dominating fashion. Logano led 140 of 260 laps en route to his first win of the season, and he takes control of the championship lead. Logano becomes the first non-chevy driver to lead the championship, and to win a race. Clearly, Ford was bound to win the race - it was just a matter of which driver would do it. Although Joey is regarded as a top-notch pack racer, its his first win on this type of track in nearly 5 years.
Corey Lajoie Scores Best Career Finish
Lajoie's best season in the Cup series just got better today, as Lajoie finished 4th - his best career finish. Lajoie looked strong early in stage three and nearly got into position to lead, but fell back later on. He managed to put himself in great position in the final laps, and put himself in a position where he could have won if the Fords of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano got together on the final lap. Corey now sits 14th in the 2023 NASCAR points standings after 5 races, which is surely something no one predicted. He continues to dismantle his teammate Ty Dillon, who sits in 33rd. Lajoie is showing what he's made of this year, so he could be in prime position to make a move to a better team for the 2024 season. There's lots of chatter of Lajoie potentially moving to the 4 to replace Kevin Harvick, which may not be far-fetched since SHR has no proven drivers in their pipeline. It's a long season, but Corey is sitting pretty so far.
No Hendrick Cars Get A Top-10
Something that must've been on no ones bingo card was not a single Hendrick car scoring a top 10 at Atlanta. Kyle Larson wrecked with Aric Almirola, while William Byron crashed early. Josh Berry was only able to manage 18th, and Alex Bowman settled for his first finish outside the top-10 all season in 14th. After Hendrick's penalty this past week, this was not the race that Hendrick needed. All four Hendrick cars sit outside the top-20 in points. We could only imagine they get back on track next week at COTA, but its going to be a long road to recovery for each driver and team if they have more runs like this.
Drivers Show Respect
For the first time all season it seems, the drivers finally showed some respect. After caution records in both the Xfinity and Truck races, it seemed like the Cup race was bound to go on a similar course. Daniel Henric's move on the last lap of the Xfinity race took the cake for the worst move of the season so far. Regardless, there were a surprisingly few amount of wrecks. Even the finish was clean, despite the two of the most aggressive drivers in the field (former teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski) gunning at it for the win.
Brad Keselowski Comes Up Just Short
Brad Keselowski scored his best finish as an owner-driver at RKF Racing, finishing second. Brad led 47 laps and was in it until the very end. Brad has shown a lot of great speed so far this year, but hasn't had the best of luck. He does have two top-10s already, just four shy of his total from 2022. His average finishing position is also up by 6 spots, and is sitting just outside the top 10 in the points standings. If he keeps up this pace, he's bound to win at some point this season - potentially at the second Atlanta race.