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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)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ENEOS Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualified for seventh position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s Chevrolet SS, won the pole position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Harvick is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with the pole award after qualifying fastest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with his wife DeLana, son Keelan, and the pole award after qualifying fastest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, poses with the trophy in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, and the rest of the field during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, August 17, 2014 in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS finished second. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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