CONCORD, N.C. — It’s hard to bet against Joey Logano these days when it comes to the Nationwide Series.
Logano raced to his eighth Nationwide Series victory of the year Friday night, passing Brad Keselowski with eight laps to go after taking on two tires and a splash of gas.
Logano led 62 laps en route to his 17th career victory and first at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He has made 18 series starts this season.
“I just had to adjust my style a little bit and get this little 20 car rocking and get these guys in victory lane one more time,” Logano said.
Keselowski gambled by making a quick pit stop with nine laps left, but his pit crew didn’t get enough fuel in his tank and he couldn’t challenge for the lead. He finished 18th.
Kevin Harvick was second, followed by Nationwide Series point leader Elliott Sadler. Kyle Busch finished fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth in a competitive race that included 11 Sprint Cup regulars.
Austin Dillon, who entered the race third in the standings 25 points behind Sadler, finished sixth and is now 29 points behind. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brian Scott, James Buescher and Michael Annett rounded out the top 10.
Logano questioned his crew chief Adam Stevens about whether it was good idea for the No. 20 Toyota to take on two right side tires when he entered the pits with 15 laps to go.
That meant briefly giving up the lead.
“I should never question Adam Stevens,” Logano said afterward. “He’s given me great cars every single weekend. We worked really hard for this. The 22 car (Keselowski) was really good for most of the race.”
Sadler came in with a nine-point lead over Stenhouse in the Nationwide Series standings. He expanded that edge to 13 after Stenhouse’s seventh-place finish.
Sadler said he wanted to win, but came away happy with the third-place finish.
“It was a good run and anytime you gain points, we’re going to call it a good night,” Sadler said.
The championship hopes of Sam Hornish Jr. and Justin Allgaier, who were fourth and fifth respectively in the Nationwide Series standings, took a hit when they crashed on lap 13.
Hornish’s spotter, Chris Osborne, told him he’d cleared Allgaier, who was on the outside, when he hadn’t. Hornish slid up the track and rammed Allgaier into the wall.
“I got cleared and he said, ‘My bad,’” Hornish said. “It’s unfortunate. It was a bad call that cost us tonight. But he doesn’t make many mistakes so I’ll forgive him. We all make mistakes.”
With four Nationwide Series races left, Sadler is closing in on a championship.
But he views next week’s race at Kansas as crucial.
“I think that is the wild card,” Sadler said.
Danica Patrick finished 11th and was on the lead lap until the very end in one of her better efforts of the season.comments powered by Disqus