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Rookie Joey Logano Zips To His First Sprint Cup Victory

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 28 2009
Greg Zipadelli and Joey Logano were cool as it gets before Sunday's race. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Greg Zipadelli and Joey Logano were cool as it gets before Sunday's race. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

It turns out that Sliced Bread can cut it in Sprint Cup.

Rookie Joey Logano got the first victory of his Sprint Cup career Sunday when he won the rain-shortened race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Logano took the lead in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 when others opted to pit for fuel during green-flag conditions. The 19-year-old Logano stayed on the track and was getting ready to pit himself when rain began to fall with about 35 laps to go.

As he circled the track behind the pace car during the rain-induced yellow, he conserved fuel by shutting down his engine and gliding. He was that close to running out of fuel himself.

But NASCAR brought the cars into the pits under a red flag and then, after about 20 minutes, decided to declare the race over.

“It was awesome,” Logano, who has been dubbed “Sliced Bread” because of the can’t-miss tag that has been hung on him, said.”  You know, we pretty much…we didn’t take off as good as we needed to. I think it’s just me still lost out there trying to figure out where I needed to be. We overcame a lot. We had a left rear cut down right before we made that last long green flag run and just trying to overcome that. When that happened, I thought we were done. I was like, the day just went bad, just try to finish it off and get as best finish we can and we made the right move at the end. He went for it and I was just lucky enough to be in the seat.”

Jeff Gordon, who appeared ready to retake a lead he had held for 65 laps on the day when the rain brought out the yellow, finished second.

Kurt Busch was third and David Reutimann fourth.

Tony Stewart, who led 40 laps, was fifth.

Jimmie Johnson, who led a race-best 93 laps, finished ninth.

The winning decision to make the big fuel gamble belonged to veteran crew chief Greg Zipadelli.

“This was the opportunity that we had and we had nothing to lose. Zippy made a great call,” Logano said. 

The leaders started to pit with 68 laps to go in the scheduled 301-lap distance after Kyle Busch, who was running in the top 10, forced the top cars’ hands by pitting early. 

Stewart, who was leading as the leaders hit pit road, came out fourth among the cars that pitted on that sequence because of a miscue with one of the lugnuts on his right front tire. 

Stewart remained series point-leader after the race. He now leads second-place Gordon by 69 points and third-place Johnson by 169.

But it was Logano who collected the trophy.

“This is a dream come true, and this is the best racetrack that we could have had (our first win) at,” Logano, a native of Middletown, Conn., said.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 28 2009
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