Logano Holds On For Dollar General 300 Win

Chicagoland Speedway – Joliet, IL – “We thought we got beat there at the end.”

And Joey Logano had the right to feel that way Friday night when a final caution flag came out with 14 laps remaining while he was leading the Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Chicagoland Speedway.

With track position at a premium, and knowledge that Logano’s tires stayed strong on long runs, crew chief Dave Rogers kept the nineteen- year-old on the track while his Joe Gibbs teammate Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers and several others pitted for a variety of tire and fuel combinations.

“Everyone pitted but us and the #38 (Jason Leffler). We were thinking that we would come home with a second place at least,” admitted Logano, who led the final 26 laps. And with just eleven cars on the lead lap, Bush, the series points- leader, was right on his bumper when the restart came with nine laps remaining.

“The last restart I got beat, and the other ones, too. I don’t know why. On the final one Leffler was there hanging with me and I just drove into turn one as hard as I can and hoped for the best. Once we got a big enough gap, Kyle got in the dirty air and we were able to pull away. I didn’t think I had him. I was really surprised.” And so were Busch and Vickers.

“It was just the clean air. Even us on new tires, if I could have gotten to Joey’s outside there that one time on the second lap after the restart I would have had him, but I couldn’t get there and he was able to pull away,” said Busch who held on for second place ahead of Vickers, and maintained a 192 series’ points lead over pole-winner Carl Edwards who finished sixth.

Vickers, who was part of a top-four Toyota finish, knew that Logano had a fast car, but thought his two new tires would make a difference.
“Joey was probably the best car on the track, but my gut feeling was the (new) tires were going to be the way to go. Coming down to the restart I felt like it was going to be between us and the 18 (Busch), the fastest two cars with new tires,” said Vickers who was disappointed with his team’s pit stop choice. “I think a lot of it was the fact that we only had two new (tires), and didn’t get four. The lefts provide-at least for this tire at this track-a lot more grip than people realize.”

Leffler and Kevin Harvick, whose Chevrolet was the first non-Toyota to finish, rounded out the top-five in a race that was slowed just twice for eleven laps. Logano, who scored his third series win of the season, averaged 147.340 mph, besting Busch by 2.619 seconds. It was the fourth 1-2 finish for Logano and Busch in the series this year. Toyota drivers led 176 of the 200 laps run tonight.

And in Victory Lane, Logano gave all the credit to the decision made by Rogers on the final stop. “This guy (Rogers) is a heck of a motivator. He will make you drive harder than anyone out there. You can have a ninth-place car and he’ll make you think you have a first-place car.”

And tonight he did.

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