Logano continues dominance in Michigan, wins Saturday race

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Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent

After a red flag for track cleanup with seven laps to go, Joey Logano drove his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota out to the lead in the Alliance Truck Parts 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday and on to his fourth series win in his last five starts, his fifth Nationwide victory of 2012.

"It's a combination of a lot of things," Logano said of his recent success. "I have a lot of confidence right now."

These cars punch such a big hole in the air, it's hard to get away from anyone,

Joey Logano

The No. 30 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet of James Buescher pulled up beside Logano on the final lap but was unable to make the pass. Instead, Buescher was forced to settle for second. Kurt Busch finished third in the No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.

The win was the first Nationwide Series victory for Toyota at Michigan.

"I can't believe what a weekend this was with the new package and new pavement," Logano's crew chief, Adam Stevens, said after getting Toyota its first win at the track.

Austin Dillon started the race on the pole in the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Toyota, but lost the lead to the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Cole Whitt on the first lap and then second to Logano on a restart following a first lap caution.

By lap 19 Dillon was back up front, with Logano in second, but the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge of Sam Hornish Jr. claimed the front position by taking only two tires to get off pit road first during a competition caution on lap 25.

Hornish maintained the lead until the yellow flag waved on lap 49. A pair of Richard Childress Racing drivers, Paul Menard in the No. 33 Chevrolet and series points leader Elliott Sadler in the No. 2 Chevrolet took only two tires during the caution to restart the race in the top-two spots.

Menard drove out to the front on the restart, but the yellow flag waved again, for the fourth time in the race, just a few laps later on lap 53. Most of the leaders stayed out, having pitted just a few laps prior, but Logano headed down pit road because of a tire that was cut by a lug on pit road during the previous caution.

Buescher took the lead on the restart, but Menard got back by to reassume the top spot on lap 61. A few laps later, Buescher lost the second spot to Sadler to give RCR the top-two spots in the running order.

The Richard Childress duo pulled away from the rest of the field before a cycle of green flag pit stops got underway with about 40 laps to go. At the completion of the cycle, Sadler found himself in the lead, in front of his teammate.

James Buescher
James Buescher

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Logano made his way back toward the front to pass Sadler for the lead with about 22 laps remaining. The caution came out right after the lead change with about 22 laps to go. Sadler lost several positions on the following restart, and Menard moved back up into the runner-up spot.

The yellow flag waved again, the sixth time in the race, with 13 laps to go. Like Sadler before him, Menard lost several spots on the restart, and Logano sailed out to a comfortable lead.

Another caution came out a few laps later with eight laps to go, and the race was halted by the red flag minutes later to for track cleanup following a two-car incident involving Josh Richards and Jamie Dick.

Logano and Buescher restarted the race first and second and pulled away in the closing laps to decide the win between themselves. Logano may have been able to shake the rest of the field, but Buescher kept in close pursuit.

"These cars punch such a big hole in the air, it's hard to get away from anyone," Logano said.

Buescher was able to pull up next to Logano after the two took the white flag, but Logano maintained his lead for another Nationwide win.

"There's a lot of moves at the end of the race that got us in this position," Buescher said. "We just didn't have all the speed we needed getting through the center of the corner."

Whitt finished fourth, and Dillon rounded out the top-five. Hornish finished sixth, Michael McDowell was seventh in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Menard finished eighth, Brian Scott ninth in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and Michigan native Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-10 in the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge.

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Series NASCAR-NS
Tags buescher, busch, featured, gibbs, logano, toyota, vincent