On the restart, Hamlin went high in Turns 1 and 2 hoping to gain momentum for a pass for the lead but couldn’t make any progress. Martin Truex Jr., who was running third, also drifted high but with a flat tire that sent him falling back through the field.
That left Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as Logano’s only serious challenger over the final two laps but Logano had little trouble holding on for the victory in the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
The win is Logano’s first of the 2021 season and he is the seventh different winner in the season’s first seven races. It’s also the 27th win of Logano’s career.
“Man, it’s incredible. How about Bristol on dirt? This is incredible, unbelievable race track - great job by everyone that prepped the track," Logano said. "Obviously, a lot of work over here the last few days. We did a lot of work in the dirt department here the last few weeks. My buddy Ryan Flores and my car chief Jerry Kelley doing a good job with the modified and just making laps and learning where I was going. A lot of that helped.
"Paul Wolfe (crew chief), this team, great car obviously to be able to execute the race that we did and get a win. I was getting nervous. There were so many first-time winners and different winners than there has typically been I said, ‘We’ve got to get a win to make sure we get in the playoffs,’ so it’s amazing to get this Shell/Pennzoil Mustang into Victory Lane at Bristol.
"There’s nothing like winning at Bristol but putting dirt on it and being the first to do it is really special.”
Logano said the changing track conditions with the dirt - even more so than running typical asphalt tracks - made Sunday's race a big challenge.
"When they watered the track the last stage that kind of changed everything. Denny and I had a heck of a race because he found grip up top and I was like, ‘Well, I don’t know how to do that,’ so I had to go up there and try to figure that out to defend the lead position and then eventually just worked the lapped cars. That was very hard as well as it should be.
"Everyone at Team Penske really put together some really good cars to come here and wing it. That’s what this is about. Nobody really knew what to put in the car and we were able to adjust the right way throughout practice and get into Victory Lane. It’s great.”
Truex – who led the most laps in the race – ended up finishing 19th.
Hamlin ended up third, Daniel Suarez fourth and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-five.
Completing the top-10 finishers were William Byron, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and Chase Elliott.