2 June 2012
Nationwide: Logano gambles to steal win from Truex
Joey Logano dominated most of the 5-hour Energy 200 Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway, but a late pit stop made it a race against time to reclaim the lead from Ryan Truex.
Joey Logano led for 154 of the 200 laps of the 5-hour Energy 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway's "Monster Mile" concrete oval, but a late pit stop left him having to race his wheels off to get back to the lead in time to claim the chequered flag at the end from polesitter Ryan Truex.
Logano had leapt out to the lead at the start, and after a brief initial caution for Tim Andrews getting a puncture and flying off up into the wall in turns 3 and 4, the ensuing restart enabled Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ty Dillon (making his series début) to take up second and third positions while Kurt Busch eventually won an extended battle over fourth place with Ryan Truex.
With a competition caution scheduled for lap 40 given the rain that had curtailed the previous night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, it was clear that the concrete track was a lot looser than the drivers had been expecting and several - including Dillon and Busch - had brushes with the wall. But the biggest early casualty proved to be Stenhouse, who lost the back end of the #6 out of turn 2. He spun, narrowly brushed the rear of the car on the outside wall, but then did an emphatic job of hitting the inside wall nose-on, putting him out of the race for the next 66 laps for repairs. He had no excuses for what had happened, and accepted that it was a case of driver error, pure and simple.
“I just lost it," he admitted. "I wasn't up on the wheel and just kind of riding around until that competition caution and just got behind on the steering. It was driver error, totally my fault. We will have to go back, take a weekend off and get 'em at Michigan.”
At the restart, Logano still had the lead joined now on the front row by Kurt Busch, with Dillon falling back to fourth behind Truex. Further back, Danica Patrick got cited for speeding on pit lane and fell form 17th to 27th position.
The scheduled competition caution went ahead as planned on lap 40, during which Justin Allgaier leapt up ten spots with a fuel-only stop to lead Logano at the restart and Brian Scott also got a good service in pit lane to join Busch on the second row.
Logano leapt away at the green flag, leaving Allgaier to successfully fend off Busch for second place. Annoyed with being unable to make the move, Busch ended up overdriving it and clouted the wall coming out of turn 2 on lap 51, fortunately not doing much obvious damage to anything other than the bumper and the paintwork. A few laps later, Sam Hornish Jr. had his own moment on lap 60 and made contact with James Buescher as they battled over eighth place, but again fortunately without causing a significant knock-on effect to their race.
As the race progressed on the cramped one-mile circuit, the leaders increasingly started to come up against slower lapped traffic. No real problem for Logano who seemed able to streak past anything and anyone with minimal problems, with Justin Allgaier getting a slight tap from one backmarker as he put a lap on him and Kurt Busch having another scary moment as he passed Danica Patrick.
At the halfway point, it was still Logano firmly in charge ahead of Allgaier, Busch, Truex and now with Austin Dillon having passed Brian Scott for fifth place. It was coming up on a new round of pit stops, and unsurprisingly it was Allgaier who was in first on lap 116, followed soon after by Cole Whitt and Parker Kligerman - after which the rest of hte field cycled through in a steady stream.
Tagged as: Ty Dillon , Brian Scott , Ricky Stenhouse Jr , Austin Dillon , Sam Hornish Jr. , Ryan Truex , Elliott Sadler , Dover , Justin Allgaier , Kurt Busch , Joey Logano , Joe Gibbs Racing , Danica Patrick , Nationwide
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