Logano Captures First Bristol Win
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin on August 24, 2012 | 10:14 P.M. EST
Logano celebrates in Victory Lane at Bristol. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
BRISTOL, Tenn. - Joey Logano captured his first win at Bristol Motor Speedway in Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 250.
After leading 119 laps from the pole in the spring at Bristol, Logano was able to score the checkered flag for his fifth straight top 10 at the half-mile oval.
"I think we've led the most laps in this race about three or four times and we've never been to Victory Lane," Logano said. "This is one of the coolest race tracks that you can win at. It means a lot to be up here."
Logano, who led a total of 81 laps, took the lead for the final time from Kevin Harvick with 35 laps to go. After Harvick ran out of fuel under the race's eighth of nine cautions, Logano was able to hold off Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for his sixth win of the season.
"I knew my car was good on the long runs, but it wasn't the best on the short runs," Logano said. "I didn't like seeing all those cautions at the end. I needed about 30 or 40 laps to get the thing wound up. I was able to hold them."
Stenhouse made contact with Elliott Sadler in the closing laps, dropping Sadler to fifth in the final running order. The runner-up finish put Stenhouse 19 points behind Sadler for the championship lead.
"You definitely wanted to be on the outside on those restarts, and then we got into the 2 there coming off Turn 4," Stenhouse said. "I definitely didn’t expect to do that. He definitely had a better race car than we did and I didn’t expect to get that run on him that we did, but luckily he was able to save it. I definitely don’t want to crash anybody and ended up second, but I was really hoping the last 20 laps or so were gonna go green. I felt like we were running down the 18 and might have had a shot at a win, but that caution came out and we ended up second.”
Kyle Busch finished third and was one of a handful of drivers that will race in tomorrow night's Sprint Cup IRWIN Tools Night Race. After running 250 laps tonight, Busch spoke about the changes the speedway made to the upper grove heading into this weekend's races.
"I think they made it worse," Busch said. "The bottom groove now -- the top was so much longer around before that you could actually make the bottom do something for you. Now the top is closer and those guys are making that middle we call it fast and it's just too hard to make ground on the bottom."
Austin Dillon, who was involved in a number of run-ins with other drivers through-out the night including pole-sitter Trevor Bayne, finished fourth with his teammate Sadler rounding out the top five.
“I thought we were gonna at least get a top-five, which we were in position for, and then the 3 car just drove over his head and took us out," said Bayne, who wound-up finishing 16th. "That’s all there is to it.”
Cole Whitt finished sixth for his ninth top 10 of the season.
Two days after finishing sixth in his first Truck Series race, Ryan Blaney equaled his best finish, in seventh, in his sixth career Nationwide start.
Michael Annett, Danica Patrick and Sam Hornish Jr. completed the top-10 finishers.
Patrick's finish came after a spin earlier in the day in her qualifying attempt and then a penalty earlier on lap 7 for pitting before pit road is open.
Last week's winner Justin Allgaier, who was another driver that was involved in an incident with Dillon, finished 30th, eight laps down after his No. 31 team made repairs to his battered car.
"Obviously Austin Dillon is still a rookie,” Allgaier said. “To get turned going into Turn 3 before you even get to the gate is pretty hard to deal with, especially how good my Brandt Chevy was tonight. It's just a frustrating night."
Brad Keselowski, who will be shooting for his third-straight Bristol Sprint Cup win tomorrow, finished 32nd after contact while racing with Brad Teague and Brian Scott through Turns 1 and 2.
"Obviously I got hit in the left-rear," Keselowski said. "I don’t know if that was my fault or not but I’ll watch the replay and try to understand it. Bristol is not the place to be driving a damaged car. There’s not any place where you want to have that and this sure as hell isn’t one of them. It’s just one of those deals.”
The Nationwide Series will return to action next Saturday night for the NRA American Warrior 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.