Joey Logano had six NASCAR Nationwide Series wins on the season, despite only running a partial schedule in the series, heading into Friday night's Food City 250 at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway. But Bristol was a track he had never won at, despite several near misses. He changed all that Friday by driving the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to his first Nationwide victory at the northeastern Tennessee track.
"Bristol baby," an excited Logano proclaimed to his team via in-car radio communications on his post-race cool-down lap. "I finally won here!"
Bristol baby! I finally won here!
After last lap contact with the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Elliott Sadler, Ricky Stenhouse finished second in the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
"That was my fault," Stenhouse said of the late-race incident. "I should've lifted and gave him more room."
Kyle Busch finished third in the No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.
Logano took the lead from the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of pole sitter Trevor Bayne on lap one and led the way until he gave up the lead to head down pit road during a debris caution on lap 33.
"Joey's got a way of making me look smart," No. 18 crew chief Adam Stevens said. "He just put a clinic on tonight."
Sadler inherited the lead and ran up front until the next caution came out on lap 46. As most of the field headed down pit road, Stenhouse, the No. 36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet of Ryan Blaney and Logano stayed out to restart in the top-three positions.
Stenhouse maintained his lead for a while until Logano reclaimed the top spot on lap 106. Logano lost that position on pit road when the yellow flag waved again on lap 113. Kevin Harvick took only two tires on his No. 33 Richard Childress Chevrolet to get off pit road first and restart up front.
Logano battled Harvick for the lead for several laps before he was finally to moved back up front in lapped traffic with 35 laps remaining. Harvick ran second to Logano until he pitted, out of fuel, during a yellow flag with 25 laps remaining.
That moved Stenhouse up to second for the restart that followed. Stenhouse lost the runner-up spot on a restart in the final 10 laps, but the last-lap contact with Sadler moved him back up to second for the finish. Sadler, meanwhile, dropped back to fifth as a result of the incident.
"It's just not the finish we deserved," Sadler said. "We should've finished second at worst."
Austin Dillon, in the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, finished fourth.
The 250-lap race was attrition field, with the yellow flag waving a season-high nine times. The frequent cautions were something that concerned Logano.
"It was a long run car, so it made me nervous on those restarts," Logano said.