Logano Wins, Refuses To Be Busch-Whacked
By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
GLADEVILLE, Tn. – Here’s the setup:
Joey Logano, cool beyond his years (18) peeked in his rear-view mirror during the waning laps of Saturday’s Nationwide 300 and saw temperamental teammate Kyle Busch – the driver who’s most loath to lose – straining to catch up.
Jittery? Not Joey.
“I wasn’t nervous,” said Logano after holding off Busch through the final laps to post a .487-second victory on 1.3-mile Nashville Superspeedway where last season he captured his first career pole.
“I said to myself, ‘I have to win this race. It’s been too long.’ I knew my car was good on short runs, good enough to hold him off.”
The victory was the second of Logano’s brief but brilliant career, coming in just his 25th Nationwide start and drawing high praise from crew chief Dave Rogers.
“He’s fantastic,” Rogers said. “To come in here today and just out-race them – it was driver versus driver at the end. He’s that good.”
Was Busch sorry for having to settle for second to his Gibbs Racing teammate?
“Pretty much,” he said. “You’re either first or last.”
Despite his disappointment Busch sliced 15 points off the lead of Carl Edwards in the Nationwide Series standings. Edwards, who finished fifth, now holds a 23-point lead over Busch after six races.
“It was a lot of work today,” said Edwards who started on the pole and led 45 laps. “Joey did a good job.”
Logano started his Toyota on the outside of the front row and led nine times for 95 laps of the 225-lapper. Busch was out front six times for 77 laps.
Joe Nemechek flipped after colliding with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and his upside-down ride brought out a red flag in the closing laps. The race re-started with five to go and Logano out front. That’s where he stayed, despite Busch’s best efforts.
Brad Keselowski was third, followed by Kelly Biers, Edwards and Jason Leffler.
While Busch was sour over second, Keselowski was thrilled with third. What did he think about Busch being so disappointed with his runner-up finish?
“As successful as he is, if you’re not winning you’re not happy,” he said.
Jason Keller, driving for Nashville-based Baker Curb racing, settled for 15th, and Nashville’s Casey Atwood was 22nd.
Logano’s win, before an announced crowd of 25,000, continued the Sprint Cup regulars’ dominance of the second-tier Nationwide Series. The Cup double-dippers have won all six races.
Logano is not running the full Nationwide schedule so he was ineligible for a new Dash 4 Cash $25,000 award at four of the stand-alone races at Nashville, Kentucky, Iowa and Memphis. The award rolls over to the next race. Had Keller won, team owners Gary Baker and Mike Curb planned to donate the award to victims of a tornado that hit nearby Murfreesboro on Friday.
The race was the first for the track’s new “All-Access” program that allows fans greater access to drivers, including attending the pre-race drivers meeting and getting autographs.
Busch said some of the fans “need to respect drivers more. Three suitcases (of collectables to be signed) is a little outrageous.”
Logano, however, said he didn’t mind.
“Without the fans we wouldn’t be able to race,” he said.
Logano said he will run 22 Nationwide races this season in addition to his full Sprint Cup schedule. Considering his success, is he disappointed he’s not running more?
“Yes and no,” he said. “Sometimes you can’t give 100% to both teams.”
He said the Nationwide win helps boost his confidence in the Cup series, where his rookie campaign has been rocky at times.
“It’s big for me because it’s a confidence-booster,” he said. “It reassures me: Hey, I can do this.”
Unofficial results of Saturday’s Pepsi 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway;
- Joey Logano, No. 20 Toyota
- Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota
- Brad Keselowski, No. 88 Chevolet
- Kelly Bires, No 33 Chevrolet
- Carl Edwards, No. 60 Ford
- Jason Leffler, No. 38 Toyota
- David Ragan, No. 8 Ford
- Mike Bliss, No. 1 Chevrolet
- Steve Wallace, No. 66 Chevrolet
- Scott Lagasse Jr. No. 11 Toyota
- Stephen Leicht, No. 29 Chevrolet
- Jason Keller, No. 27 Ford
- Burney Lamar, No. 32 Toyota
- Shelby Howard, No. 70 Chevrolet
- Michael McDowell, No. 47 Toyota
- Michael Waltrip, No. 99 Toyota
- Brendan Gaughan, No. 62 Chevrolet
- John Wes Townley, No. 09 Ford
- Michael Annett, No. 15 Toyota
- Dennis Setzer, No. 26 Dodge
- Jeff Green, No. 81 Dodge
- Casey Atwood, No. 05 Chevrolet
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 16 Ford
- Kenny Wallace, No. 28 Chevrolet
- Brian Scott, No. 10 Toyota
- Eric McClure, No. 24 Ford
- Tony Raines, No. 234 Chevrolet
- Scott Wimmer, No. 40 Chevrolet
- Justin Allgaier, No. 12 Dodge
- Brandon Whitt, NO. 61 Ford
- Morgan Shepherd, No. 89 Chevrolet
- Danny O’Quinn Jr., No. 01 Chevorlet
- Tim Andrews, No. 31 Chevrolet
- Joe Nemechek, No. 87 Chevrolet
- Kenny Hendrick, No. 42 Dodge
- Benny Gordon, No. 172 Ford
- Ken Butler III, No. 23 Chevrolet
- David Green, No. 07 Toyota
- Jeremy Clements, No. 150 Chevrolet
- Kertus Davis, No. 49 Chevrolet
- Brian Keselowski, No. 196 Dodge
- Terry Cook, No. 91 Chevrolet
- Johnny Chapman, No. 90 Chevrolet