Joe Gibbs Racing driver Joey Logano tightened his stranglehold on Nationwide Series competition at Kentucky Speedway by earning his third consecutive "Meijer 300 presented by Ritz" victory from the pole position by 0.662 of second over Carl Edwards tonight.
Logano led the 200-lap battle five times for 106 laps and survived a series-track-record tying 10 caution periods that covered a new series track-record 51 yellow-flag laps before nailing down the fourth- closest Nationwide Series finish and fifth race to be decided by less than a one-second margin of victory in the track's 11-year history.
"I don't know what feels better—going three-for-three (at Kentucky Speedway) or finally getting a win this year. We've had quite a few stolen from us, and Carl (Edwards) was running hard there at the end. I thought, 'man, I don't want to lose another one this way," he said.
After leading the opening 22 laps, the recently-turned 20-year-old driver was shuffled back no further than the third spot in the 43-car field the remainder of way. He took the race lead for the fourth time on Lap 169, but lost it to Brendan Gaughan six laps later. Logano raced back to the front for the final time with 25 laps to go and held off a fast-closing Edwards to seal the victory.
"My restarts, especially the first lap, I wasn't up to speed, but after that I was able to make something happen with this car. Clean air was a big deal tonight, and the last 25 laps I was going for all I had. I know Carl (Edwards) was too, he had a real good car. This was just the way it played out. It was really cool to win it this way," Logano said.
Edwards earned his second career Kentucky Speedway Nationwide Series top-five finish and first since his 2005 win at the track from the pole position. His second consecutive top-five finish of the season gives him a total of seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.
"I thought we had something for him (Logano) on that high line. The trick was I had a better line going than him. Once he realized I was faster, he moved up and I couldn't get him. He (Logano) did a great job of driving smart.
"That's two weeks in a row we've run second and been one of the fastest cars on the race track. We still have some things we can work on. My last two years here (placing 20th) have been just embarrassing. I'm just really, really glad we ran well. It's just good to have these runs and cut a few points off Brad," Edwards said.
Nationwide Series championship leader Brad Keselowski took third, Brendan Gaughan placed fourth and Reed Sorenson rounded out the race top five.
Keselowski earned his third consecutive Kentucky Speedway Nationwide Series top-five finish. He will carry a 272-point championship lead into the series next race on the four-mile Road America course in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Gaughan grabbed his second consecutive Kentucky Speedway top-five series finish. Sorenson also nailed down his second career series top-five finish at the track in his first start since 2006.
Kentucky Speedway is inviting fans to a Labor Day weekend speed celebration Sept. 3-4 when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series visits for a "Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" tilt before Firestone Indy Lights drivers contest the "Drive Smart. Buckle-Up! Kentucky 100" and IZOD IndyCar Series race at more than 200-mph in the "Kentucky Indy 300."
Race tickets, Big Deals specials and camping can be reserved through the "Tickets" page of this site, by phone at 888-652-7223 (RACE) or by visiting the Kentucky Speedway ticket offices in either Ft. Mitchell, Ky., at 400 Buttermilk Pike, Suite 100 near the Montgomery Inn restaurant or the track Fan Center located off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N in Sparta, Ky. Tickets additionally are available through Meijer stores and tickets.com outlets.
Meijer 300 presented by Ritz Extras:
- Logano's 0.662 of a second margin of victory ranks as the fourth closest finish among the 10 Nationwide Series events staged at Kentucky Speedway.
-Logano led 106 of 200 "Meijer 300 presented by Ritz" race laps and became the third Kentucky Speedway Nationwide Series race winner to lead 100 or more laps. Kevin Harvick led 131 laps en route to his 2001 Nationwide Series win and Edwards led a series track-record 150 laps while winning the 2005 Nationwide Series event.
-Scott Wimmer's seventh-place "Meijer 300 presented by Ritz" finish brought his Kentucky Speedway all-time top-10 finish total to five through seven starts and ties him for the series track lead in that category with Greg Biffle.
Story by Mike Schmaltz
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