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Logano Wins Darlington Nationwide Race

| , RacinToday.com Friday, May 11 2012

Joey Logano got the Nationwide victory in Darlington on Friday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Erik J. Perel)

Joey Logano of Joe Gibbs Racing won the Sports Clips 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington Raceway on Friday night.

The victory, which came after a green/white/checkered restart, was the third of the year in the series for Logano and it came in his eighth start. It was his second victory in a row.

“Darlington,” Logano said, “this is such a cool place to win, the history here and all – it’s just so awesome. This was Toyota’s 201st win in NASCAR, so that’s really cool. It’s just awesome, I’m excited about it.”

Finishing second was Denny Hamlin, Logano’s teammate.

Third was Brad Keselowski of Penske Racing.

Fourth was Sam Hornish Jr., Keselowski’s teammate.

Austin Dillon finished fifith.

Rounding out the top 10 were Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brian Scott, Kurt Busch, James Buescher and Cole Whitt.

Hamlin had what appeared to be the fastest car on the night and dominated the race as he led 103 laps.

He had a lead of almost 6 seconds when Kurt Busch blew a tire, clipped the wall and brought out a caution with 22 laps to go.

Elliott Sadler had the lead for the ensuing restart, which came with 15 laps to go. Hamlin restarted the race next to Sadler.

Logano moved to second on the restart as Hamlin sunk to third. Hamlin moved back past Logano with 12 laps to go and began moving in on Sadler.

But with 10 laps to go, and with Hamlin pulling even with Sadler, Brendan Gaughan hit the wall to bring out another caution.

On the restart, which came with five laps to to, Logano, who  was third, hit Sadler from behind. The hit sent Sadler to the wall – and out of the race.

“Bump drafted me from behind,” Sadler said of the  Logano. “You just don’t bump draft every where you go. Especially a place like Darlington.”

“I was trying to push him, trying to help him,” Logano said. “We did it the restart before that – I was able to push him ahead and get ourselves in first and second. It was the same game plan, trying to do the same thing. Older tires and his car wasn’t really good all through the gears – he spun his tires a lot. It got me stuck on him and I was trying to get off him when I saw him getting crossed up, but I couldn’t backup enough.

“I feel terrible. We worked so good together in Talladega last week and I was trying to help him again here. It was one of those racing deals — it’s tough. I apologize for it, but we were trying to win the race — both of us were trying to win the race. It is what it is, unfortunately, but it’s still cool to get Dollar General in victory lane. That’s the exciting part for us.”

That led to a green/white/checkered restart with Hamlin, who passed Logano during the wreck, in the lead.

But on the restart, Logano jumped to the lead and held off is teammate to get the win.

“It’s unfortunate,” Hamlin said. “We lost a cylinder I guess under caution because I had it wide-open those last couple laps. I just couldn’t do anything. It’s a shame. We wanted to get a win for these Sport Clip guys, but tough way to end it.”

| , RacinToday.com Friday, May 11 2012
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