Joey Logano held up his Nashville victory guitar high in the air as he celebrated his second NASCAR Nationwide Series win which he earned at the Nashville Superspeedway 1.333-mile oval by besting his own teammate, Kyle Busch.
"It was awesome to be able to get that win this time. Ever since I've been coming to Nashville - even at the fairgrounds I've been wanting to get that guitar and this is just awesome," smiled Logano before adding on a more somber notes, "I have to thank GameStop and all the fans for coming out here today."
Logano, along with the rest of the Nationwide drivers, were sadden by yesterday's tornados which hit the state of Tennessee hard causing death, serious injuries and destruction in nearby Murfreesboro. The fans did come to the speedway in droves today, possibly many came due to the all-access day, allowing them into the garage area and on pit road (not however during the on-track activity).
Many racers in all three top series under the NASCAR umbrella knows that a win after trading the top position over Busch is made a bit sweeter. For the teenager, no doubt it was. The two Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota drivers ran side-by-side and nose-to-tail, trading the lead for the most of the race.
"I was able to get Kyle back there at the end of the race and get the clean air back on my nose," said Logano. "I know he was tight so that kind of made it worse for him. It was good enough to hold him off. It's cool to have a Joe Gibbs Racing one-two finish - that's a big deal for all the guys at the shop too."
Logano not only got the win but also the bonus points for the leading the most laps (95) on the Saturday before Easter. The younger of the two JGR team drivers, was able to take the edge in the closing ten laps to sail across the start/finish line, taking the checkered flag by close to five-tenths of a second over Busch.
"I wasn't too nervous, I was just driving as hard as a I can. That last restart I knew I had to have a good restart and it was decent, but he had a good one too and I was able to get through (turns) one and two really good and get out there in a big enough lead," Logano said about knowing it was his teammate that he had to contend with to score today's victory.
"Funny because on Monday I was texting Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and told him that we had to win this race," he added. "It had been way too long since we won and to get up there and succeed and win this race - this is one of the tracks that I really like so to get this win is huge."
Kyle Busch's last chance was on that final restart after a red flag shut down the Nationwide race. The two had already dominated the event so it was not a surprise to see them put their all into the closing laps. In the end, the JGR teammates logged 172 laps for the record book in this year's tally of lap leaders.
"He (Joey Logano) had a better car on the short run and we had a better long run car. I want to thank Z-Line, NOS Energy Drink, Toyota and all the guys on this team," said Busch. "They did a great job it was just a shame that we weren't able to get out there and win this thing. That's kind of frustrating, but we finished second today."
JR Motorsports' Brad Keselowski, winner of Nashville in June 2008, was no match for the two Toyota drivers, taking third in his Chevrolet.
Killy Bires had a good run and placed fourth in the Kevin Harvick, Inc. Chevrolet
Pole winner Carl Edwards faded off the pace but did score five bonus points as one of the leaders during the 225 laps of racing action sans the caution periods. He ended fifth in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford with 45 laps as the leader.
Jason Leffler, David Ragan, Mike Bliss, Steve Wallace and Scott Lagasse Jr. rounded out the top ten.
There were ten cautions with the final one bringing out the red flag near the end of the race. On lap 218, Joe Nemechek took air, flipped up and tumbled to the track near the finish line, landing on all four wheels in his Chevrolet. Even with the red flag, Nemechek drove it into the garage. He was checked at the infield medical center and released.
Two of the cautions, including the final one were the typical NASCAR multi-cars accidents, involving four are more cars.
The next race for Nationwide drivers and teams will be at Phoenix next weekend where many of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers pull double-duty. Race winner at the age of 18 is a rookie in the Cup series, driving the No. 20 JGR Toyota.