Late Surge Lifts Logano to Second Straight "Meijer 300 Presented by Ritz" Kentucky Victory
Joey Logano became the first driver to successfully defend a Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Nationwide Series title tonight by passing his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch on the inside of Turn 3 on Lap 191 of 200 and racing away to a 1.625-second "Meijer 300 Presented by Ritz" victory.
Logano, who became the first repeat pole award winner in series track history earlier today, led the 300-mile race only two times for a total of 20 laps in his No. 20 GameStop Toyota and battled back from a Lap 71 pit road speeding penalty that knocked him from second to 15th. His successful late charge through the field produced his second victory of the season and ruined the night for the second-place Busch, who led a series single-race track record 162 laps.
"This place is one my favorite racetracks, one of those places that just suits me. We have a perfect record here - two poles and two wins. Nobody has ever done that before, so it's pretty cool.
"(Crew Chief) Dave (Rogers) set the car up good and we were really, really good on old tires. I screwed up speeding down pit road, but I didn't think it was a big deal at that point in the race as long as we kept the fenders on it. I just had to be patient, but aggressive at the same time. I just wanted to get up through there, knowing what a good car I had," Logano said.
He maintains the fifth position in the standings with his seventh top-five and ninth top-10 finish of the season through 12 starts.
A disappointed Busch drove to his second top-five Nationwide Series finish at Kentucky Speedway and the first since his 2004 victory. He retains the series championship lead and now owns four wins, eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes through 14 starts this season.
"It always happens that way and I always lose at the end. Joey was just better than me. I told everybody I'd come here and finish second anyway," said Busch, who also delivered a second-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Michigan International Speedway earlier today.
Brad Keselowski took third in the No. 88 GoDaddy Chevrolet, Brendan Gaughan nailed down fourth place in the No. 62 5-hour Energy Chevrolet and Penske Racing rookie Justin Allgaier delivered a fifth-place finish in the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge.
Tonight's "Meijer 300 Presented by Ritz" crowd was estimated at 70,000 and marked the ninth straight Nationwide Series sellout at the track which officially holds 66,089.
Kentucky Speedway continues its 2009 season July 17 and 18 when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series contests the "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" and the ARCA RE/MAX Series battles in the "Click it or Ticket. Buckle-Up! Kentucky 150."
Both series will open the weekend with Friday practice sessions before The "Built Ford Tough 255 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" opens a blockbuster Saturday doubleheader at 7:30 p.m., and the "Click it or Ticket. Buckle-Up! Kentucky 150" follows.
New infield camping and Big Deals offering tickets as low as $20 can be reserved online by visiting http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com, by phone at 888-652-RACE (7223) or through the Kentucky Speedway ticket offices at 400 Buttermilk Pike, Suite 100, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., or the Sparta, Ky., Fan Center off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 North. Fans also can reserve tickets at Meijer stores and Tickets.com outlets.
"Meijer 300 Presented by Ritz" Extras:
- Carl Edwards placed 20th in tonight's "Meijer 300 Presented by Ritz" marking his second straight 20th-place Nationwide Series finish at Kentucky Speedway. He has averaged a 27th-place NNS finish at the track in the four starts following his 2005 victory.
-Tonight's race set a new series track record for lead changes at 16 among seven drivers. The previous series track record for lead changes was 15 among nine drivers in 2002.
-Tonight's 1.624 second margin of victory was the seventh widest in series track history.
-Brad Keselowski's third-place finish marked his second straight and second career top-five Nationwide Series finish at the track.
-Toyota has visited Victory Lane following two straight NASCAR Nationwide Series events.
Story by Mike Schmaltz
~Kentucky Speedway ~