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Logano Continues to Shine with Runner-Up Finish at Gateway

GameStop Driver Notches Third Top-Five Finish in Only Fifth Career NASCAR Nationwide Series Race

Joey Logano
Joey Logano
After a three-race hiatus from NASCAR Nationwide Series competition, it didn’t take Joey Logano very long to pick up where he left off. The 18-year old phenom led twice for a total of 42 laps en route to a second-place finish in Saturday night’s Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill.

The driver of the No. 20 GameStop Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) qualified fourth and never dropped below fifth-place at any point during the 200-lap event. Logano’s strong finish helped him earn his third top-five and fourth top-10 finish in just five career Nationwide Series races.

“We had a pretty good night,” said Logano, who also finished second in his previous Nationwide Series start at the Milwaukee Mile in June. “We made a lot of adjustments during the race and we could run well at both ends of the track. We could turn the center (of the corner) well, but had no forward bite or we were too tight in the center and had good forward bite. We couldn’t really get it right where we wanted to, but it seemed like Carl Edwards got it right where he wanted to. The whole GameStop crew gave me great pit stops all night. We gained a lot of spots in the pits, but I lost a lot of spots in the pits with me driving. I learned a little bit there, but that’s part of the learning curve as a rookie.”

While he struggled with a car that was loose in the center of the corner at both ends of the 1.25-mile oval, crew chief Dave Rogers made changes throughout the night in hopes of getting the car to Logano’s liking. After a quick pit stop by the GameStop team on lap 22, the changes seemed to work as Logano took his first lead of the night on lap 26. From there, he led laps 26-48 and again from laps 123-141, while also holding steady within the top-three in between.

The Middletown, Conn.-native held the lead when the caution waved for the final time on lap 142. The next lap, Logano dove to pit road for what would be his final stop of the day. As he attempted to leave his pit, Logano briefly stalled his GameStop Toyota, losing a few spots in the process. The minor mistake resulted in him restarting fourth on lap 145, but he quickly recovered from the pit road miscue by calmly moving up from fifth to second by lap 154.

“I screwed up coming out of the pits and I tried passing on the restart and the car got free and lost a spot,” Logano said. “By the time we got back by all of those cars, I was about 15 car-lengths back for a while until he (Edwards) gradually started pulling away, and before I knew it, he had a straightaway lead on me.”

In the end, nobody was going to catch Edwards, as he impressively scored the win by 6.877 seconds over Logano.

“I never gave up, but he had such a big lead that even if I was a half-second quicker at the end I was never going to get there,” said Logano of his attempt to catch Edwards. “My only hope was a caution and then something happening, because even with a caution, I don’t think we were fast enough to get by him. We were a second-place car and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just want to thank GameStop and Nintendo DS for being on board with us tonight. We’re shooting for wins for those guys, but it’s a good points night.”

Logano’s runner-up effort at Gateway kept the No. 20 car first in the Nationwide Series owner standings, 223 points ahead of the No. 2 entry of Richard Childress Racing after 21 of 35 races on the Nationwide Series schedule.

Edwards’ victory was the 15th of his Nationwide Series career and his second this season. Finishing third behind Logano was Jason Keller, while Jason Leffler and Brad Keselowski secured the rest of the top-five. Rookie Landon Cassill, James Buescher, Clint Bowyer, David Stremme and David Ragan comprised the remainder of the top-10.

The next event on the Nationwide Series schedule is the July 26 Kroger 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. The race starts at 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at 7:30 p.m. The race will also be broadcast live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 128.

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