NNS: Logano grabs elusive win at Talladega

May 5, 2012 No Comments

Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Joey Logano has had an impressive streak of runs recently at Talladega Superspeedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, but until today he had never been able to call himself a winner.

After two attempts at a green-white-checkered finish, NASCAR’s version of overtime, it came down to a drag race that looked very familiar, the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Toyota racing the No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, as they were last week both racing for the win, but none of the drivers were the same.

This time, it was Kyle Busch in the No. 54 and Joey Logano in the No. 18. For most of the last restart of the green white checkered, it was Logano that was pushing Busch around the track. After the tandem of Cole Whitt and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. failed to catch up to Logano and Busch, Logano sat back and waited to make his move.

“[I was in] right position…I didn’t think we were in the right position before the last restart,” Logano said to ESPN reporters after the race. “Last lap pass happened at the right time.”

The right time for Logano would have been at the wrong time at any other track, Logano moved away from Busch’s bumper as the two Toyotas were coming out of the tri-oval on the front stretch of Talladega, where the start/finish line is located near turns one and two, instead in the middle of the tri-oval like it is at most other tracks.

As soon as Logano made his move to the outside, Busch knew that the win wasn’t going to be his.

“[We] gave the opportunity to Joey and he took it,” Busch said after the race. “When you are in a tandem there is not much you can do, the rear car has so much momentum.”

Logano carried the momentum that he gained from on the outside and carried it to a win. It is Logano’s 11th career Nationwide series win, his first win at Talladega. It is the second time this season that Logano has won in the Nationwide series this year, his last win came at California.

It is Toyota’s 200th victory in NASCAR.

“We are blessed to have Logano drive these cars,” said Adam Stevens the crew chief for Logano. “We felt bad for the No. 2 team [of Elliott Sadler] because we worked well with them all day.”

For much of the day, Sadler and Logano stuck together and stayed out front. Although Logano and Sadler stayed out front, an engine heating  problem late hampered Sadler late and Logano had to find different drivers to draft with to get back up front.

While Logano was trying to get back up front, it was Busch that was up front battling for the lead against several drivers, most notably Dale Earnhardt Jr. Even though Busch only lead three times for 36 laps, he led the most laps Saturday.

Logano was able to find himself up front in part thanks to a slew of late-race cautions. With four laps to go, the No. 01 of Mike Wallace and No. 4 of Danny Efland spun bringing out the caution and setting up the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.

On the first lap, the green lap, of the green-white-checkered finish, Logano restarted sixth, but would need help getting back to the front to contend for the win.

Then came a violent wreck coming out of turn two onto the backstretch. It started near the front when Michael Annett, who was being pushed by Logano tried to move to the inside of Brad Keselowski. Keslowski got loose and both he and Annett spun on the track. After all the smoke cleared, eight other cars were involved in the wreck.

Because of all the debris and fluids on the track, the race would be red-flagged for 19 minutes. During this time a lot of the focus was on the No. 14 car of Eric McClure, because of a violent hit he took to the inside wall during the wreck. McClure did not get out of his car like the others involved did. Before the race was restarted McClure, who according to ABC/ESPN reports was responsive, was medivaced to a local hospital for further evaluation.

The next restart, Logano started in third behind Busch and went on to take the lead.

Stenhouse finished third, while Whitt was able to come home in fourth. Earnhardt Jr, finished the day in fifth.

Even though Sadler came back to record a tenth place finish, Stenhouse was able to take a five point lead advantage in the season points.

Next week the series will be in Darlington Raceway for the annual race there.

Race results:

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  4. Cole Whitt
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  6. Kurt Busch
  7. James Buescher
  8. Justin Allgaier
  9. Kenny Wallace
  10. Elliott Sadler
  11. Ryan Truex
  12. Sam Hornish Jr.
  13. Danica Patrick
  14. Erik Darnell
  15. John Wes Townley
  16. Danny Efland
  17. Austin Dillon
  18. Mike Bliss
  19. Joe Nemechek
  20. Brad Keselowski
  21. Timmy Hill
  22. Kevin Harvick
  23. Michael Annett
  24. Tayler Malsam
  25. Jeffery Earnhardt
  26. Robert Richardson Jr.
  27. Eric McClure
  28. Mike Wallace
  29. Jeremy Clements
  30. Josh Richards
  31. T.J. Bell
  32. Tim Andrews
  33. Brad Sweet
  34. Jason Bowles
  35. Morgan Shepherd
  36. Brian Scott
  37. Johanna Long
  38. Mike Harmon
  39. Jeff Green
  40. Josh Wise
  41. Chase Miller
  42. Scott Speed
  43. Kevin Lepage



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