Joey Logano Wins The VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200
By Jeff Wackerlin
Motor Racing Network
DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 11, 2012) - Joey Logano outran his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin on a green-white-checkered finish to take his second-straight NASCAR Nationwide Series victory in Friday night's VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway.
Logano followed his win last week at Talladega with his first career checkered flag at the historic South Carolina track.
But it came in controversial fashion.
Logano made contact with leader Elliott Sadler on a restart with five laps-to-go sending the Richard Childress Racing driver into the wall and out of the race.
"I was trying to push him (Sadler), trying to help him," Logano said. On the restart before that I was able to push him ahead and get ourselves in first and second. It was the same game plan. Older tires and his car wasn't really good all through the gears - he spun his tires a lot. It got me stuck on him and I was trying to get off him when I saw him getting crossed up, but I couldn't backup enough. I feel terrible. We worked so well together in Talladega last week."
Sadler came into the race five points out of the lead in the Nationwide Series point standings, but his championship hopes took a big hit with the accident.
"I think Joey was trying to bump draft us and I don't think he did it on purpose," said Sadler, who now sits 23 behind point leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. "We were all on older tires and when he hit me it spun me to the right and totaled our race car. This is heartbreaking, this is going to make a really tough uphill battle to try and get back in this championship chase."
It was Logano’s third win of the season and the second time in his career scoring consecutive victories. Logano turned that trick in October of 2009 with wins at Kansas and Auto Club Speedway.
Hamlin led a race-high 103 laps, but was forced to settle for second after he lost a cylinder under the caution.
"I had it wide open those last couple laps and I just couldn't do anything,” said Hamlin, who was shooting for his fourth win in his last five Darlington starts. “It's a shame, we wanted to get a win for these Sport Clips guys - just a tough way to end it."
Brad Keselowski finished third for his first top five in six Darlington starts.
"I'm proud of our effort with the Snap-on Discount Tire Dodge to get a solid finish out of it," Keselowski said. "We want to win these races so we’re going to keep pushing but this is still my best finish at Darlington and that’s progress and thankful for the hard work by everybody on my team.”
Sam Hornish Jr. was the top finishing Nationwide Series regular in fourth.
"I did pretty good for the most part of not scuffing the wall," Hornish Jr. said. "I went and hit it on the last lap just to see if I could try to get a run on the outside of Brad and gave ‘er a little too much. All in all I’m pretty happy with our night."
Rookie Austin Dillon rounded out the top five.
Stenhouse, Jr., Brian Scott, Kurt Busch, James Buescher and rookie Cole Whitt completed the first ten finishers.
Danica Patrick and Travis Pastrana finished 12th and 17th, respectively, in their first Darlington start.
Walk-up tickets are available for tomorrow's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles Southern 500 at the Darlington Raceway ticket offices located at gate 16 and gate 3 beginning at 9 a.m.
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- SUPPORT THE VFW’s SPORT CLIPS HELP A HERO SCHOLARSHIPS BY PURCHASING A NASCAR XFINITY SERIES RACE TICKET AT DARLINGTON RACEWAY
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- 1970’s ICONIC BAND GRAND FUNK RAILROAD TO PERFORM BOJANGLES’ SOUTHERN 500 PRE-RACE CONCERT PRESENTED BY COCA-COLA