Late Pass Gives Logano The Talladega Nationwide Victory
Joey Logano passed Kyle Busch for the lead a couple of hundred yards from the finish line and went on to win the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday.
The victory came after a second green/white/checkred restart.
Busch finished second in his Kyle Busch Racing Toyota, next to Logano’s Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota but a couple of feet behind.
“I was pushing him (Busch) and I kept looking in the mirrors,” Logano said. “I wanted to make sure the guys behind us (Cole Whitt and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) weren’t that close. They were trying to mount a run, but they couldn’t really get to the outside of me. Kyle and our cars were really fast. He was up there all day, I was up there all day. We just happened to end up with each other. Coming off turn four, I looked in the mirror and was like, ‘Okay, I have a pretty good gap here.’ Then I started thinking, ‘Okay, when’s the moment, when’s the moment?’ He knew it was coming, he knew it was going to happen. You’re just a sitting duck when you’re the leader – Kyle was just a sitting duck.”
Busch said he figured that leading was not the place to be as he came out of Turn 4.
“You just know you’re kind of a sitting duck,” he said. “I just can’t say enough about Joey (Logano) and the guys at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing). They pushed me to a win the last time here and gave me the chance to be in victory lane. There’s nothing I can do, it wasn’t worth blocking and taking a chance of ending up in the fence or anything. He ran a good race, a smart race there at the end. He knew it was his position. Those guys couldn’t get along side of us, if they got along side of us, it was going to be a drag race and he would have had to have stayed in line to at least get us to the win. Great job by this Monster Energy team.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. of Roush Fenway Racing was third while Cole Whitt of JR Racing was fourth.
Fifth was Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Rounding out the top 10 were Kurt Busch, James Buescher, Justin Allgaier, Kenny Wallace and Elliott Sadler.
The final laps of the race were marred by a series of wrecks and cautions.
A caution came out with nine laps to go when Mike Bliss spun and with Busch leading and Earnhardt, who led 25 laps, second.
The leaders stay out. Behind Busch on the restart with four laps to go was Joe Nemechek and behind Earnhardt was Kevin Harvick. Busch held the lead as Earnhardt went way high up the track.
But shortly after the restart, another wreck brought out another caution.
That set up the first green/white/checkered restart.
On that restart, Busch opted to take the outside line. Below and next to him was Nemechek.
Near Turn 3 on the restart lap, another wreck occured just behind the leaders and took out several cars, including that of Harvick. The eight-car wreck brought out the red flag as rescure workers extricated Eric McClure from a car which slammed the inside wall head-on at near full speed.
Busch was on pole again for the second G/W/C restart. He again opted to restart from the inside spot. Behind him was his Sprint Cup teammate, Logano.
Moving up on the outside was Whitt, who was being pushed by Stenhouse. They fell in behind as they headed toward the checkered flag.
“Our plan was to just go with the 88 there,” Stenhouse, who moved past Elliott Sadler and into the points lead, said. “It looked like our best option. I didn’t want to be getting pushed at the line. I feel like our car was pretty fast pushing somebody it just seemed to struggle a little bit by itself. All in all it was a good day. It was cool working with Cole Whitt there, we used to race sprint cars together. He was doing everything he could to stay in line with them and we just couldn’t quite get enough there. Coming to the line I tried to swing out to get third. It was the best day for us here at Talladega. think the fans should have enjoyed that one.”
Logano moved to the outside in the tri-oval and made the pass.
More action occurred on the cool down lap when Danica Patrick ran Sam Hornish Jr. into the outside wall.
Hornish’s car was wreck and the driver reportedly angrily approached Patrick in the pits.No Comment