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Nationwide: Danica leads but Logano wins

2 July 2011

Joey Logano won the Subway Jalapeno 250 Nationwide race at Daytona International Speedway with a last lap boost from his team mate Kyle Busch to blast past a pack of leading cars and then hold off a charging Jason Leffler to the chequered flag.

Logano came back from an early spin on lap 26 that dropped him out of the top 30 to claim his ninth Nationwide win in 77 starts and his first at Daytona in six starts - his previous best was second place here a year ago. Logano becomes the tenth different winner in 17 Nationwide races in the 2011 season.

"Any time we've hooked up like that we've been pretty successful," said Logano, who led only that one final lap, of his alliance with Busch. "I really needed this win ... I've been digging as hard as I can. I've been confused. I don't know what to do different!"

Danica Patrick was surprisingly strong given relative lack of experience at restrictor plate venues and she led for 13 of the 100 laps - having previously led only five laps in all her 18 series starts - and stood a real chance of taking her maiden series victory after she hooked up with JR Motorsports teammate Aric Almirola for drafting, having teamed with Tony Stewart earlier in the race.

"I had a hell of a lot of fun," said Patrick, who emphatically took charge of the JR campaign in the final laps: "Let's go [expletive] fast here," she radioed Almirola toward the end. "We just need to catch this group and go by them. We're doing the right thing here. ... You just follow my ass, OK?" Almirola duly followed and clung on.

Afterwards Danica admitted that "It was a different me on the radio. It probably sounded like a determined me, confident, assertive, a let's go get them attitude," she said. “That was how I felt. I just knew we had a fast car."

In the end, she was among the pack of cars that Logano beat in the final lap, and was involved in a multiple-car wreck through turn 4 that also caught up Aric Almirola, Steve Wallace, Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart and Mike Wallace as Logano crossed the finishing line.

Her car still managed to cross the finish line in tenth place despite being on fire after the wreck, which was triggered when she and Amirola came up on the slow Wallace. "Man, it looked like Mike Wallace was a like a fish out of water there at the end - it was just a cluster."

Wallace said he lost momentum in the final turn. "I did the best I could," he said. "I'll take the responsibility, I'm the driver."

Danica certainly seemed be enjoying herself, and made a lot of her peers sit up and notice with this performance: second-placed Jason Leffler commented afterwards that "I thought she looked good. And fast. And good. She looked good." It may mean that she is inching toward a full-time move to NASCAR from IndyCar, although she continues to insist that no decision has been made and none is immediately forthcoming.

Despite fielding four cars all of which qualified on the front two rows for the race, Kevin Harvick Inc. came away frustrated with two cars involved in the final corner wreck and Harvick himself accidentally turning Clint Bowyer into a hard hit against the wall on lap 80 while drafting.

Eric McClure suffered a heavy crash on turn 1 on lap 44 in the #14, which required him to be taken to a local hospital for a check-up despite walking away from the wreck; his family later reported that he was having tests run as precautionary measures "but is doing fine".

No cars had any problems reported with post-race inspection.

Full results and positions are available.


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