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Logano survives wild night to win

by Pete McCole
Saturday, May 12, 2012

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Joey Logano
Joey Logano survived a wild night to record his second NASCAR Nationwide Series victory in a row with an overtime victory in Friday nights VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway.

Logano outgunned Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin at the start of the final green-white-checkered shootout and held on his third Nationwide Series win in the five races and the 12th series win of his career.

Brad Keselowski was third, followed by Sam Hornish, Jr. and Austin Dillon.

Logano’s good fortune came at the expense of Elliott Sadler, who saw a late-race gamble to take the lead end in a shower of sparks after getting turned off the bumper of Logano during a restart with six laps to go.

“I don’t want to win races that way. It’s bittersweet,” said Logano. “I feel terrible (about Sadler). We worked so good together in Talladega last week and I was trying to help him again here.

“Your heart drops a little bit, but at the same time, you have to find a way to put it behind you and go out there and do your job and win the race. 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.”

Sadler, who came into Friday night’s race just five points behind Stenhouse, Jr. in the standings, ended up finishing 24th - his first DNF since November of last year at Phoenix – and now trails Stenhouse by 23 points.

“I hate it,” said Sadler. “I’m fighting for my life out here to try and stay a part of this sport and try to do well and win a championship and win races and stuff like that tonight, it’s just heartbreaking. 

“I understand what (Logano) was trying to do, but you can’t bump draft everywhere you go, especially at a place like Darlington and everyone’s on used tires. There’s a time and place for everything, I just hate that we were on the losing end. Tore up a really good race car and killed us in the points.”

Hamlin had dominated the event after starting on the outside of pole-winner Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., leading five times for 103 of the 151 laps.

Hamlin spent much of the first half of the race trading the lead with Kurt Busch before finally settling out to six-second lead over the field until lap 128, when Busch cut down a tire and smacked the outside wall to bring out the caution flag and wipe out Hamlin’s lead. 

Trailing in the fourth position, Sadler and his crew rolled the dice on their final pit stop and elected to take only two tires, jumping to the lead coming off pit road with 15 laps to go.

Sadler led the next nine laps before Brendan Gaughan hit the wall to bring out the fifth caution flag of the night, setting up a six-lap dash to the finish.

Running third behind Sadler with Hamlin to the outside, Logano tried to push Sadler past Hamlin as they came past the start/finish line but ended up turning Sadler’s Chevrolet into Hamlin and the inside wall, touching off a crash that collected Kasey Kahne and damaged Hamlin’s Toyota as well.

Sadler rolled to pit road but was unable to continue as Hamlin inherited the lead with Logano trailing followed by Keselowski, Hornish and Dillon.

Coming to the green flag for the restart, Logano got a push from Keselowski past Hamlin and cleared his teammate as the field came through turn one, but Keselowski got loose in the turn and settled into third behind Hamlin as Logano’s no. 18 Toyota pulled away.

Hamlin made a final run at Logano coming through the final two turns, but came up two car-lengths short at the line.

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

“I’m going to get these guys a win one of these days. We just can’t keep dominating these races and not win them.”

Stenhouse, Jr. finished sixth, followed by Brian Scott, Kurt Busch, James Buescher and Cole Whitt.

Danica Patrick, making her Darlington debut, finished 12th while Travis Pastrana came home 17th in his second career Nationwide Series event.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 5 20 Joey Logano Toyota Dollar General 0 151 Running
2 2 18 Denny Hamlin Toyota Sport Clips 0 151 Running
3 13 22 Brad Keselowski Dodge Snap-On Tools 0 151 Running
4 8 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Alliance Truck Parts 40/0 151 Running
5 3 3 Austin Dillon * Chevrolet AdvoCare 39/0 151 Running
6 1 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford Blackwell Angus Beef / Cargill 39/1 151 Running
7 7 11 Brian Scott Toyota Dollar General 37/0 151 Running
8 4 54 Kurt Busch Toyota Monster Energy 0 151 Running
9 14 30 James Buescher Chevrolet AccuDoc Solutions 0 151 Running
10 40 88 Cole Whitt * Chevrolet TaxSlayer.com 35/1 151 Running
11 16 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota SWMTX.com 33/0 151 Running
12 15 7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 32/0 151 Running
13 10 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet Brandt 32/1 151 Running
14 22 43 Michael Annett Ford Pilot Flying J 30/0 151 Running
15 12 44 Mike Bliss Toyota Tri-Star Motorsports 29/0 151 Running
16 31 41 Timmy Hill Ford Poynt.com 0 151 Running
17 25 199 Travis Pastrana Toyota Boost Mobile 27/0 151 Running
18 9 38 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Great Clips 0 151 Running
19 26 14 Jeff Green Toyota Hefty / Reynolds Wrap 25/0 149 Running
20 36 4 Danny Efland Chevrolet EMS Speak 24/0 148 Running
21 32 81 Jason Bowles * Toyota American Majority 23/0 148 Running
22 37 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet Racing With Jesus / MorganShepherd.com 22/0 147 Running
23 28 23 Jamie Dick Chevrolet Viva Auto Group 21/0 144 Running
24 6 2 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet OneMain Financial 21/1 143 Accident
25 19 39 Josh Richards Ford NSW Kids 19/0 143 Running
26 11 33 Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet South Point Hotel & Casino 0 138 Accident
27 43 70 Derrike Cope Dodge ML Motorsports 17/0 138 Running
28 42 108 Matt Frahm Ford New Lifestyle Diet / Maui Jim Sunglasses 16/0 125 Engine
29 20 40 Erik Darnell Chevrolet TheMotorsportsGroup.com 15/0 91 Clutch
30 21 01 Mike Wallace Chevrolet Restaurant.com 14/0 81 Running
31 30 19 Tayler Malsam Toyota G-Oil / NOYS 13/0 60 Transmission
32 18 50 T.J. Bell Chevrolet Twin Oaks Services 12/0 44 Accident
33 23 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet Clements Automotive 11/0 42 Running
34 35 15 Blake Koch Chevrolet CapitalPlasticSurgery.com 10/0 29 Electrical
35 41 52 Kevin Lepage Chevrolet Second Chance Race Parts 9/0 25 Engine
36 34 10 Tony Raines Toyota TriStar Motorsports 0 14 Vibration
37 39 174 Mike Harmon Chevrolet Koma Unwind Relaxation Drink 7/0 10 Brakes
38 38 175 Scott Riggs Chevrolet Rick Ware Racing 0 7 Vibration
39 24 42 Josh Wise Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 0 7 Electrical
40 27 124 Casey Roderick * Chevrolet West Virginia Miners / Linda K. Epling 4/0 3 Accident
41 29 46 Chase Miller Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 3/0 2 Accident
42 33 47 Scott Speed Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 0 2 Clutch
43 17 136 Ryan Blaney Chevrolet SealWrap.com / Advance Auto Parts 1/0 1 Accident

* Denotes Rookie

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