Joey Logano wins as racing returns to The Rock
After two years, racing has returned to the sand hills of North Carolina as Rockingham Speedway hosted its first major stock car race since 2004, welcoming the ARCA RE/MAX Series to the high banked 1-mile oval for the richest race in series history.
|Joey Logano celebrates|
Joey Logano put on a dominating performance as the 17-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing prodigy blew away the field to win Sunday’s inaugural Carolina 500.
Logano proved his mettle against a stout field of seasoned stock car veterans, passing NASCAR driver Ken Schrader in the final laps to go to pick up the victory in his first ever series start.
“I have to thank the Joe Gibbs crew for pitting me,” said Logano. “They kept me out front. We're going to get a shot at Dover coming up, and hopefully we'll see victory lane there too. I wasn't running flat out the whole race. You've got to pace yourself. That's a really big deal here at The Rock.”
Schrader finished second, followed by Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Matt Hawkins and Michael Annett.
“I would have loved to have won but it's neat to see the fastest car win a race and that's what happened today,” said Schrader. “I have to thank Johnny Benson who came out here and practiced the car for us on Friday. It was good. We just didn't have anything for [Joey] Logano.”
Logano, a development driver for JGR in the Busch East Series, jumped into a Billy Venturini-owned Chevrolet after capturing the pole for Sunday’s event and preceded to leave the 50-car field eating his dust, leading 257 of the 312 laps
Sunday's race was a tune-up for Logano as he prepares to make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut on May 31 at Dover Int’l Raceway, just a week after his 18th birthday.
The Carolina 500 marked the first stock car race at The Rock since NASCAR first pulled up stakes here in February 2004.
Since then, the track has remained idle, hosting several driving schools and a few Hollywood films and commercial shoots before former driver Andy Hillenburg bought the track from Speedway Motorsports Inc. for $4.4 million in 2007. by Pete McCole/AutoRacing1.com Correspondent