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Logano makes history at Loudon

Another rainstorm. Another first-time winner.

With 28 laps remaining in Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, rain stopped the race and made a winner of rookie Joey Logano, much as it had done for David Reutimann in the Coca-Cola 600 in May.

Sliced Bread - Logano's nickname, as in the best thing since - may have been soggy at the finish, but he had enough fuel left in his tank to make it to the end of pit road when NASCAR red-flagged the Sprint Cup race after lap 273.

Logano became the youngest winner in series history at 19 years, one month, four days, more than a year sooner than Kyle Busch, who went to victory lane at California in 2005 at 20 years, four months, two days.

Stretching his fuel mileage to the limit, Logano stayed on the track and prayed that a large storm that had appeared on the radar would arrive at the 1.058-mile racetrack before he ran out of gas. After NASCAR threw a yellow flag for rain on lap 267, Logano still had to complete six circuits under caution before the race was stopped.

Shortly thereafter, NASCAR called the race and declared Logano the winner.

Jeff Gordon, who thought he had won the race with quick work in the pits under green on lap 235, instead finished second. Kurt Busch, who won last year's rain-shortened Lenox 301, ran third, followed by Reutimann and Cup points leader Tony Stewart, who saw his advantage shrink to 69 points over second-place Gordon.

Ironically, it was Logano's flat tyre and a spin on Llap 182 that gave crew chief Greg Zipadelli the opportunity to make the winning call. Logano lost a lap during the incident but got it back as the “lucky dog” (free-pass car) after Scott Speed's wreck in turn one on lap 190. Logano brought his car to pit road for tyres and fuel under caution on lap 193 while the leaders stayed out to retain track position.

“We overcame a lot,” Logano said. “We had a left rear cut down right before we made that last long green-flag run (72 laps before the final caution) and had to overcome that. When that happened, I thought we were done. I thought the day just went bad.

“But we just made the right move at the end. We went for it, and I was just lucky enough to be in the seat.”

Knowing Logano was short on fuel, Gordon tried to run the rookie out of gas during the final six caution laps. Logano would shut off the engine of his #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and coast, only to have Gordon pull up beside him to keep pace with the pace car.

“I was just running pace-car speed, and it allowed me to get to the outside of him and make him start his engine and use some fuel, and he didn't like that,” Gordon said. “So he moved up so I couldn't get to the outside, so I just went to the inside.

“I didn't want to push him, and I didn't want to back off, because that was our only shot — for him to run out of fuel.”




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Joey Logano [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualifies fourth Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies fifth Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, right, poses with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert and the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 11, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, left, talks with Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway on June 27, 2014 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, David Ragan, driver of the #34 KFC Go Cup Ford, and Michael McDowell, driver of the #95 Jordan Truck Sales Ford, crash during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron`s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 4, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane with team owner Roger Penske after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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