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Nationwide: Logano wins as Sadler crashes

Joey Logano enjoyed a dominating afternoon race at Phoenix, but a late crash for Elliott Sadler means that the 2012 Nationwide Series championship is set to go to Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Joey Logano won the Great Clips 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday afternoon, the penultimate Nationwide Series race of 2012 - but it was a disastrous late crash for Elliott Sadler that had the biggest repercussions as far as his championship battle with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was concerned.

“Another great day, another great car that Adam Stevens prepared for me to go out there and try to win this thing,” said Logano, crediting his crew chief for the win. "To go out there and lock up most poles of the year was cool and obviously this locks up most wins on the year today, so I'm excited about that."

Logano and Kyle Busch had earlier led the field to the green flag, but while Logano got a good start Busch meanwhile flew off up high complaining of a lack of front grip, dropping to sixth place through the first two corners. It was just as well for him that the field went under caution seconds later for a spin by Noel Dowler between turns 3 and 4.

Logano took off again at the restart on lap 5, with Brian Vickers (in his first series outing for Joe Gibbs Racing), Austin Dillon and Kasey Kahne slotting in behind him and Busch recovering to fifth place. Meanwhile, within the first dozen laps of the race Elliott Sadler was already up to 22nd place, after having to start from the back of the grid because of damaging his primary race car in qualifying and needing to break out the backup car for the race.

Contact with Mike Harmon's sluggish #74 cost Kyle Busch a couple more on lap 28 places, but the next actual caution was on lap 31 for John Blankenship spinning in turn 2. That proved acceptable timing for the field to make its first round of pit stops of the day, which allowed Brad Keselowski to pop up into second spot as Logano led the field back round to the restart line on lap 38.

Austin Dillon made a run on Keselowski for second at the green flag, only to get loose on the inside line forcing him to check up to avoid wrecking both cars. Not only did that release Keselowski, it nearly ended with Dillon getting rear-ended by his title rival Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as he fell back to seventh position. Meanwhile the other major player in the championship battle - Elliott Sadler - had suffered a slow pit stop and now found his backup car even less to his liking during this stint after the latest round of adjustment changes. Even so, he was able to hold on to a top 20 position.

Logano was still in the lead by the time the next caution materialised for a second spin by Blankenship on lap 70. That was despite a strong challenge for the top spot from Kasey Kahne who had displaced Keselowski in second, with Brian Vickers, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch filling out the rest of the top six.

A new round of pit stops ensued under the caution, with Logano and Kahne winning the race off pit road taking two tyres apiece while Keselowski opted for four at the cost of dropping three places. Sadler's crew made up for their earlier tardiness and put the #2 back out in eighth place, but it was Stenhouse who inherited the lead by surprisingly staying out of pit road altogether.

Stenhouse made a fight of holding on to the lead at the restart on lap 75 but his worn tyres made it just a matter of time before Logano passed on the high side. It seemed a foregone conclusion that Kahne would pass him on the low groove, but the #38 didn't have the grip and had to back out of the move - dropping positions to Dillon and Keselowski but still managing to stay ahead of Sadler.




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Joey Logano, driver of the #18 GameStop/Epic Mickey2 Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 10, 2012, in Avondale, Ariz. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Joey Logano, driver of the #18 GameStop/Epic Mickey2 Toyota, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 10, 2012, in Avondale, Ariz. (Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Elliott Sadler, driver of the #2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet, and Cole Whitt, driver of the #88 Takagi Chevrolet, spin after being involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 10, 2012, in Avondale, Ariz. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, will be on the front row after qualifying for second position Friday, July 31, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, July 31, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Dillon is 19th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualifies for sixth position Friday, July 31, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Busch is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on July 31, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 Maxwell House Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, speak in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on July 31, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, places the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, celebrates by kissing the bricks after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, races to a third place finish Sunday, July 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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