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Logano Sees Triumph and Trials in Music City Showdown

GameStop Driver Earns First Career NASCAR Nationwide Series Pole, Falls Victim to Circumstance in Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway

Joey Logano
Joey Logano
Joey Logano’s rapid ascent up the racing ladder ratcheted a few notches higher when he won his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series pole in just his second career Nationwide Series race Saturday at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway. The recently-turned 18-year-old then led twice for 64 laps – including the first 60 circuits around the 1.33-mile oval – before a tap from another race car sent Logano spinning along the frontstretch and into the wall, resulting in a 31st-place finish.

The finish was certainly not indicative of the performance displayed by Logano behind the wheel of his No. 20 GameStop/EA SPORTS Toyota.

The Joe Gibbs Racing prodigy earned the pole with a quick lap of 30.003 seconds at 159.944 mph in qualifying, bettering his nearest pursuer by more than a tenth-of-a-second.

That speed continued in the race, as Logano led the first 60 laps, and following a round of green flag pit stops, resumed the lead on lap 75. The No. 20 GameStop/EA SPORTS Toyota paced the 43-car field for another four laps before the caution flag waved for a two-car accident in turn two. That sent the field to pit road, which jumbled the running order when racing resumed on lap 83.

Some teams opted not to pit, while others that did pit took only two tires. Logano and crew chief Dave Rogers decided four fresh Goodyears would serve them best in the long run, but the lengthier stop put them 10th when the race restarted.

Logano had little time to advance toward the front, for as soon as the green flag waved, the yellow caution flag appeared again for Brad Coleman’s contact with the turn two wall.

When the restarted on lap 88, the field stacked up. Rookie Chase Miller suddenly got loose entering turn three, and as Logano made his way around Miller’s No. 9 Dodge, he was clipped in the left rear quarterpanel by Greg Biffle’s No. 16 Ford. The contact sent Logano spinning off turn four, where the black-and-red Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota nosed into the frontstretch wall.

Logano was unhurt and able to drive his stricken machine back to the garage area for repair. There, the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing crew went to work, and after 42 laps of green flag racing, they sent Logano back onto the race track to make laps and pick up valuable car owner points.

“The GameStop team really worked hard to repair our car as quickly as possible,” said Logano, who returns to the No. 20 Toyota next weekend in the Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. “They put their heads down and kept digging and got us back out there really quick. To put a whole snout on a car like they did and to get me back out with a car that was still pretty decent definitely says a lot about our team.”

The Middletown, Conn.-native made his Nationwide Series debut last Saturday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway where he finished a strong sixth. After showing so strongly at Nashville, he now heads to a track where has plenty of seat time testing for Joe Gibbs Racing’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams.

“Kentucky seems like a cool race track,” Logano said. “I’ve tested there in a Cup car for Joe Gibbs Racing, but I know competing with the Nationwide Series car will be a completely different feel.”

“It was definitely cool to get my first pole award in only my second race, but I learned in practice that there is a big difference between the Sprint Cup Series cars and the cars we competed with here this weekend. It seems like the car got tighter and tighter the longer we ran, especially the Nationwide Series cars.”

Logano’s 31st-place effort at Nashville kept the No. 20 car first in the Nationwide Series owner standings, 64 points ahead of the No. 2 entry of Richard Childress Racing after 15 of 35 races on the Nationwide Series schedule.

Brad Keselowski scored his first career Nationwide Series victory by winning the Federated Auto Parts 300. David Stremme, David Reutimann, Clint Bowyer and David Ragan secured the rest of the top-five. Mike Wallace, Scott Wimmer, Kelly Bires, Landon Cassill and Biffle comprised the remainder of the top-10.

The next event on the Nationwide Series schedule is the June 14 Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway. The race starts at 8:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ESPN2 beginning with its pre-race show at 8 p.m. The race will also be broadcast live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 128.

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