Joey Logano continued to display his impressive form in the Nationwide Series, with his eighth victory of the year in just 18 race starts in 2012 to put Joe Gibbs Racing back into victory lane once again.
Elliott Sadler had led the field to the green flag shortly before 8pm at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but the race went under caution almost at once as Angela Cope crossed the starting line having already taken heavy front-end damage to her car, the front end buckled and leaking oil and water onto the track that required a lengthy clean-up before the race could get back underway.
The restart on lap 11 scarcely lasted any longer before going back under caution, this time as a result of Sam Hornish Jr. and Justin Allgaier making contact and slipping into the wall out of turn 4. Hornish put the blame on faulty information from his spotter telling him he was clear of Allgaier when he wasn't for initiating the incident.
"The spotter cleared me and I wasn't quite clear, obviously," he admitted. "He jumped on the radio as soon as it happened and said: 'Hey man, it's all my fault. I'm sorry.' Chris does a great job for me spotting on the Nationwide and the Cup side, this is the first incident where he's made a bad call.
"It's really tough for all of us on the Wurth Dodge and I feel really bad for Justin and his guys, too. It's a bummer. I'll forgive him and we'll move on," he added. "It's real unfortunate but when you're going the speeds that we're going whether it's the driver or the spotter, anybody makes a mistake it's usually pretty costly."
Indeed, both cars received sufficient damage to send them to the garage area and both took a long time to return. Allgaier finished the race 34 laps down and Hornish was 96 laps off the lead by the end.
Sadler had led these early laps, but once the racing resumed it was Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who got the better start and surged into the front to claim the lead. Along with Kevin Harvick, the leading trio started to pull away from the rest of the pack as the race finally got some uninterrupted racing on the books. Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano led the chase, but were unable to reel the leaders back in at this early stage.
Sadler tried to reclaim his lead on lap 36 but couldn't pull it off, instead opening up a window of opportunity for Kevin Harvick to have a go at the leader. After a back-and-forth tussle lasting over a period of ten laps, Harvick finally pulled it off and claimed the top spot on lap 51 just as the first round of pit stops were due.
Sadler had a slow pit stop and lost six spots, while Harvick resumed in the lead ahead of Stenhouse, Logano, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin. But it was Brad Keselowski who was flying during this stage of the race, and on lap 72 he cruised past the #33 to claim control of the race.