Joey Logano made it clear from the start that he had one of the cars to beat on Friday evening, and moreover that he was a man on a mission after losing out on a win so many times here at the past after dominating whole races.
"We've been so close to winning here," said Logano after finally pulling it off. "It feels so good to get here in victory lane. It's Bristol, one of the top three or four race tracks to win at."
Starting on the front row of the grid under the floodlights for the Food City 250 Nationwide Series race on the short half mile oval Bristol Motor Speedway, Logano had surged past polesitter Trevor Bayne at the green flag and decided that he liked the clear view he found there.
Logano stayed out in front through three early rapid-fire cautions that came soon after delayed start of the race, which had been half an hour later than scheduled to allow for track drying operations following a heavy thunderstorm that had washed out qualifying for the Sprint Cup drivers.
The first caution was on lap 5 when Justin Allgaier found the wall and sustained heavy damage after contact with Austin Dillon, which almost caught up championship points leader Elliott Sadler in the process. The Second came on lap 25 when Brad Keselowski also found the wall, this time after getting caught up behind the lapped car of Brad Teague.
"I got hit in the left-rear," explained Keselowski. "I don't know if that was my fault or not but I'll watch the replay and try to understand it. Bristol is not the place to be driving a damaged car. There's not any place where you want to have that and this sure as hell isn't one of them. It's just one of those deals."
Another brush with the wall for the wounded #31 of Allgaier on lap 33 had put the race back under yellow again, and it was at this point that Logano surrendered the lead to Sadler to head down pit road with what appeared at the time to be a tyre problem but was in fact an astute call from Logano's crew chief Adam Stevens.
"That's why I don't crew chief - I get paid to drive the car and it's a good thing Adam gets paid to do what he does!" laughed Logano, admitting that at the time he couldn't figure out why he'd been called in to pit road. "I came in and saw no one else and I was like, 'Uh oh, we screwed up here.' We were able to have a good enough car to pass a couple back and then the strategy worked out the way it needed to and here we are."
Sadler retained the lead at the restart from Ricky Stenhouse Jr., before a quick return to yellow on lap 45 for Jason Bowles' frontstretch spin. This time more of the leaders came in for regular stops, with only Stenhouse and Ryan Blaney opting to stay out at the front which meant that Logano was back up into third place ahead of Rick Crawford and Elliot Sadler. Stenhouse was able to make this strategy work, but Blaney quickly dropped back over the next ten laps of green flag racing that followed before the race was back under caution, this time for Brian Scott who had been nudged into an encounter with the wall by Kyle Busch.