Logano stays perfect at Kentucky
|Tayler Malsam and his Toyota Nationwide car leave a shower of sparks after hitting the wall hard in Turn 1 on Lap 113 of the Meijer 300. Malsam was unhurt in the crash. photo by Wade Bell.|
June 23, 2010Joey Logano kept his record perfect at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night, June 12, doing what he has done since his debut at the track: winning the pole position for the Meijer 300 then going out and winning the race for the third straight year in a row.
Logano not only had to hold off runner-up Carl Edwards, but he had to beat out an approaching rain storm as well for his first win of the 2010 season.
"They definitely weren't lying when they said it makes you feel that much better when you do win because this probably feels better than any other win I've got," Logano said after the race. "It's cool for Kentucky. I would never have thought two-for-two, and now three-for-three, poles and wins; that's impressive. I'm pretty stoked about that right now."
Logano's strength showed at the onset of the race as the 20-year-old driver jumped out to the lead, but he didn't have much time to gain any breathing room as the first caution of the night came on lap two when Brian Scott spun as he came out of turn three.
"The first lap on the race track I was tight ... " Logano said. "As it was going, I said, 'We're tighter than what we were yesterday. We're in trouble.' Then the caution came out, and we didn't make a complete lap. Then it came into me. I was surprised it was good. After the first lap, it changed a lot."
Four laps later,Logano took the green flag again followed by Justin Allgaier and Scott Riggs. Logano built a 1.7-second lead until Riggs spun down the backstretch. The yellow was good for Carl Edwards, who had developed an early flat tire in the race.
"I didn't know what was going on," said Edwards. "We thought we were going to have another one of these gremlin-filled race cars ... We got the tire changed, and I think it was dirty air and being back in traffic, finding my groove."
The stops created a big switch up front with Brad Coleman leading followed by Reed Sorenson and Mike Bliss. Sorenson briefly took the lead away from Coleman and led by 2.3 seconds on lap 50. The green flag run lasted until lap 75, when Willie Allen spun after bumping with Travor Bayne in turn three. The entire field went in for service at that point, with Logano coming out first in front of Coleman.
The race went green again on lap 80. At the halfway point, Logano's advantage had climbed back to 0.961 of a second over Coleman.
The fourth caution of the night came on lap 113 when Tayler Malsam and Coleman Pressley bumped in turn one. Malsam slammed the backside of his car into the wall, sending a shower of sparks across the track before coming to rest in turn two.
"I just screwed up," said Malsam. "We came here to run laps, but this is a lot different from the trucks. I am very fortunate to be OK. I owe an apology to my team."
That caution allowed the field to pit again for service. Allgaier's crew won that race getting its driver out front for the first time in the race, ahead of Michael Annett and Logano. Coleman was fourth, and Edwards rounded out the top five.
Scott Wimmer was one of the few who did not come in for service and took over the lead as oncoming storms closed in. Wimmer was out front on the restart but that lasted only briefly when Brian Ickler and Allgaier made contact with Ickler spinning into the infield.
"The car wouldn't come out of second (gear)," Allgaier told his crew.
Logano took control again on lap 143 after passing Wimmer in turn four. Ickler spun again creating the seventh caution of the night. Another caution came with 50 laps left when Brad Coleman slid down the back-stretch wall.
Logano's crew got him out in front once again with Bliss in second and Wimmer in third. Bliss passed Logano on the outside in turn two to go up front. Following another caution involving Michael Annett, Paul Menard and Jason Leffler, Logano took the lead away from Bliss, who brought the final caution of the night with a spin in turn two. With 25 laps left, Edwards gained ground on the front runners and moved into third.
The 10th lead change came with Brendan Gaughan passing Logano in turn three. His lead lasted only briefly, and Logano immediately charged back with Edwards in tow moving up to second. Logano held off Edwards and the front runners to win just before the sky opened up with a heavy downpour.
"He was definitely faster than me," Logano said of Edwards at the end. "My car was pretty good, so I don't know how he was catching me. I feel like I'm going pretty fast here. I just ask for as much information as I can to see where he's running, where he's beating me, what's going on.
"I heard he was running a little bit higher than me, so I moved up and tried to take the air away and forced him to run the bottom more behind me. That was the right move because, when that happened, I pulled back away again. Once we got through lapped traffic, we pulled away a little bit. That was enough for the win."
"I thought we had something for him," Edwards said. "He just did a really good job driving smart. He did a great job. Their car was just a little faster."
Brad Keselowski moved up to snare the third and final podium position of the night.
"It was an up-and-down day," said Keselowski. "When it started, I thought we were decent. We just had to be patient and work our way up ... We had some problems on pit road with gas and so forth. We made an adjustment and went on. We just missed it a little bit today."
Logano's success at the track can possibly be attributed to the amount of testing he has done there the last two years.
"I used to come here about once every three weeks when we were testing, and I've had a million laps around this place," he said. "I said if I ever get to race here, I'm going to be pretty good."