Camry driver Joey Logano won Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Daytona International Speedway.
Logano led the final lap (of 100) at the 2.5-mile superspeedway with a push to the finish line from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch.
The win marks the ninth career NNS victory for Logano and the 61st triumph for Toyota since joining series competition in 2007. It also was Logano’s first Nationwide Series win of 2011.
Busch (fourth), Michael Annett (sixth) and Kenny Wallace (seventh) also finished in the top-10 for Toyota.
Camry drivers Steve Wallace (11th), Brian Scott (12th), Kevin Conway (25th) and Joe Nemechek (26th) were also in the field.
Five Camry drivers are currently in the top-15 in the unofficial NNS point standings following 17 of 35 races in the 2011 season -- K. Wallace (seventh), S. Wallace (eighth), Scott (ninth), Annett (10th) and Joe Nemechek (25th).
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 1st
What happened on the final lap? “It just feels good to be on this side of it. Usually, I’m in second -- the last few times. This is Daytona -- I’m pumped up right now. It’s so cool. Got to thank Kyle (Busch) obviously, for pushing me. It’s nice to be on the other side of the fence. Usually, I’m the ‘pusher’ and finish second every time. So, to be on the other side here and get the win -- man, this is great. This is just cool. I was really pumped up. Man, appreciate all the guys at the shop. It was a good race there at the end. Coming down there at the end there, watching the mirror, I was like, ‘Man, I’ve never been in this position before. Usually, I’m the guy second.’ And, was watching Kyle in the mirror. And, saw him go high -- had to block him high. I know he was really looking out for the other two car group coming up behind us there. Man, it just feels good here.”
Did you see what happened behind you at the finish? “I saw parts of it. I know I saw Kyle (Busch) go high and I went to block high and he caught me in the right rear and we started catching it up towards the fence. But, it was just enough to get by on the start-finish line there. I don’t know if Kyle even hit the wall there or not. I hope it didn’t. If not, we have two good cars that aren’t tore up. Pretty pumped up.”
Can you describe what happened behind you at the finish (watching replay of finish)? “It was a big junk behind us there. I didn’t realize it was that much wreck there. But, I caught the end of that replay there. I was listening to Kyle’s (Busch) spotter and I could here him coming -- you know six back, three back, two back. And, I could hear him coming. Both the spotters did good -- Mark Robertson (Logano) and Eddie D’Hondt (Busch) -- did a great job working with us together. It took us awhile to find each other throughout the race. We were both on two different strategies and both trying to figure out some different things. Once we find each other it’s like this every time. We’ve been up towards the front with me and Kyle fighting each other. Hopefully, we can do the same thing tomorrow.”
What does it feel like to finally win at a superspeedway after finishing second so many times? “It’s good to be on this side of it. They told me a stat here earlier this week and it said the last eight superspeedway races I finished second four times out of the eight. It’s nice to be on the other side of it and be in victory lane here. We’ve got Sport Clips on the car this week and it’s huge for them and huge for us and the 20 team. We needed it right now. Personally, I needed it a lot. This will really help me a lot. I want to thank GameStop. They are on our car a lot. Coca- Cola, Toyota and all of those guys for really helping us out. It’s a really big deal. It feels good. This is Daytona. This is awesome.”
How wild was the racing tonight? “It was really wild, especially in the beginning of the race for no reason. Me and Kyle (Busch) really took a while to find each other again out there. I pushed some different cars here and there to try to find something. I knew once we found Kyle we could go, just like we have in the other superspeedway races this year. Once we find each other we go like hell. We really took our time and once we got each other we were on each other’s radio and got a system there. We did everything right and teammates is the name of the game at superspeedway races.”
Can you put into words what winning at Daytona means? “I always said if you win a bicycle race here at Daytona it’s the coolest thing in the world, so you can image on how I feel right now. It would be really cool if it was one level up tomorrow, but right now man, I’m on such a high. This has to be up there as one of my coolest wins, if not the coolest. Daytona to me is the coolest place we go to.”
Do you think that things are headed in the right direction for you? “For sure. Like I said earlier, last year when I’ve got a win and got some momentum on our side it really makes a difference. Hopefully this is doing the same thing. Like you said, I really needed it. I’ve been digging as hard as I possibly can. I’ve been confused. I don’t know what to do different, but the big thing is just having some momentum on your side and you’ll be amazed at what it can do. This is definitely a huge win for me for a lot of reasons. I’m pretty pumped up. Both spotters did a really good job today. It’s really hard when you get both cars out there and you’re trying to switch over radios and trying to get a program together on who is going to spot who and my spotter and Kyle’s spotter did a very good job. Not talking over each other and talking when they needed to and doing everything just right and it really paid off.”
ADAM STEVENS, crew chief, No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What did you have to do to the race car tonight to get in victory lane? “Really, it all goes back to qualifying. We broke a seal on the clutch on pit road. Just a freak thing -- it just wore out. We were getting ready to roll out for qualifying and there was clutch fluid all under the car and we couldn’t get it in gear. We skipped a few races this year, so we’re a go-or-go-home car and we have to qualify on time. We had to push him (Joey Logano), get him going and have him jam it in gear. And, we had one opportunity to do it. If we didn’t do it and we pushed him past the end of pit road we couldn’t touch the car or we would’ve failed our qualifying attempt and we wouldn’t have made the race. Once we got through that adversity we had to change the clutch, which is no big deal. We had to go to the back for unapproved adjustment. With the cars back there we just couldn’t get with a car that could get us to the front and every time we started making some ground the caution would come out. Then we spun and had to bounce back from that, and then we had a loose wheel and had to bounce back from that. Then we were shy on fuel, but everybody was. It was just one of those days. These races, especially with the two-car draft, nobody knows what they have until just a few laps to go. And the trick is to have something to race with and to have a look at the front with a couple laps to go. That’s all driver and spotter at that point. If they can put you in that position then you have a chance to win.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 4th
What was it like to push your teammate Joey Logano to the win tonight? “It was good. We worked together as teammates for a reason and that’s one of the reasons there. Joey (Logano) had an up and down day there for sure, and he came back and we got teamed up there and then we were just able to work with each other the rest of the race -- probably about the last 35 laps or so. It was going to come down to the end there and once we got the lead I was like, ‘Alright, make sure we bring home a JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) win here.’ And then when those guys had a head of steam behind me I just tried to block them for Joey to try and make sure Joey won this thing. It was a good race and I’m glad to see a Toyota in victory lane. Glad to see Joey there. He helped us in Talladega so glad we could help him here.”
How was your race tonight? “I was trying to help to make sure Joey (Logano) was going to win this thing and we got the lead there through (turn) one and two and I’m like, ‘Alright, man, this is his race so it’s going to be good.’ I knew those guys were going to have a run coming down off of turn four and I told Joey to keep it straight and just win this thing -- meaning I’m going to block for him and try to get through those guys way. I didn’t care if I was going to wreck just as long as he was going to win so that’s cool.”
How was the racing tonight? “A couple of people think they know what they’re doing, but not really. It gets a little loud and hairy sometimes, but that’s just a part of it. It was fun out there and I’m glad we came home like that. It should’ve been a one-two (finish) , but those guys had such a head of steam that I just did all I could to make sure that the 20 car (Joey Logano) won. That’s all I was worried about.”
MICHAEL ANNETT, No. 62 Pilot/Flying J Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finishing Position: 6th
Are you happy with your finish? “I would’ve been a little bit happy if we were in victory lane. That’s definitely the closest I’ve been in my Nationwide career to actually see it and know that you’re in the right place. We did everything right and then Steve (Wallace) blew up off of (turn) two and I lost my pusher and I was just trying to tag on to one of the other groups that was flying by us. Speed is such a difference. It’s not like you just pull inline, but we came across with another top-10 and just outside the top-five. That’s two in a row for us and three I think within the month, so we’re really happy with the way we’ve got momentum going. We knew if we could get through Road America with a good finish -- we were hoping for a top-15 and to come out here and finish the race and we got two top-10s. So, we’re way ahead of schedule for where we wanted to be so far. I’m just real happy with the way the team has turned around.”
KENNY WALLACE, No. 09 G-Oil Toyota Camry, RAB Racing with Brack Maggard Finishing Position: 7th
Are you happy with your finish? “It looks like I was the third best Toyota. I’m thrilled to death with a seventh-place finish. It was a great race. It’s just a crapshoot there at the end. My car was really strong. I was hooked up with Brian Scott pretty much half of the race. It was just all we had. It’s a deal where I’m real happy with my team, but I just don’t have a teammate. I’m the odd man out. I’m happy we got what we got and seventh was a good finish.”
STEVE WALLACE, No. 66 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finishing Position: 11th
BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Shore Lodge Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 12th
KEVIN CONWAY, No. 87 Extenze Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 25th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 97 Extenze Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 26th