A Tale of Two Races for Logano at Charlotte 18-Year-Old Leads 32 of Opening 53 Laps in Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota, But Has to Settle for 14th after Contact with Wall on Lap 103 Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota ...
A Tale of Two Races for Logano at Charlotte
18-Year-Old Leads 32 of Opening 53 Laps in Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota, But Has to Settle for 14th after Contact with Wall on Lap 103
Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), led 32 of the opening 53 laps and was a solid fixture in the top-five during the opening half of Friday's night's Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.
But on lap 103, Logano made contact with the outside SAFER barrier between turns three and four of the 1.5-mile oval, taking the 18-year-old from Middletown, Conn., out of contention for his second career Nationwide Series victory. Logano was forced to battle back during the second half of the 200-lap race to finish a respectable 14th in an event that was twice red-flagged for rain.
Logano, making his 15th career Nationwide Series start and his first at Lowe's Motor Speedway, qualified fourth and held his position through the opening laps.
After a 10-minute, 29-second stoppage for rain just eight laps into the race, Logano made his move to the front shortly after the race went back to green on lap 15. He passed Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray to move into second on lap 17, and then got by Jeff Burton for the lead on lap 18. Logano stayed in front for the next 28 laps before Burton passed him back for the lead on lap 49.
Quick work in the pits by the No. 20 crew got Logano back on track in the lead on a lap-51 stop under caution. But Edwards and JGR teammate Kyle Busch both slipped past Logano on the lap-53 restart and dropped him back to third. Logano stayed in the top-five from that point until, on lap 103, he attempted to pass Dave Blaney on the outside between turns three and four and smacked into the retaining wall, inflicting heavy damage to the right-front and right-rear of the No. 20 Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota.
"Man, that turned out to be one of the longest nights of my life," Logano said. "It was tough trying to come back with a broken race car. I feel bad for the guys. It looked really good for us early on. I started out pretty tight, but then I was able to get in the lead and stay there for a lot of laps. Then we tried to loosen it up a bit and went a little too far, so we fell back on the next restart. But we had a good handle on where we wanted to go from there. Then, all of a sudden, I went outside to pass the 10 (Blaney) and I have no idea what happened. It felt like a big gust of wind took the nose right up into the wall or something. It was weird. After that, we just tried the best we could. That's one of the hardest things to do in racing."
The 14th-place finish dropped the No. 20 car out of the lead and into second place in the Nationwide Series owner standings, one point behind the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing entry that Clint Bowyer drove to a fourth-place finish Friday night.
Logano's JGR teammate Busch led 137 of the 200 laps in the No. 18 Toyota en route to his ninth Nationwide Series win of the season and his fourth in 11 Nationwide Series starts at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Finishing 0.661 seconds behind Busch was Burton in the runner-up spot. Brian Vickers, Bowyer and Edwards secured the rest of the top-five. Kevin Harvick, Kelly Bires, Brad Keselowski, McMurray and Mike Wallace comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were 13 caution periods for 58 laps -- including the two red-flag stoppages for rain totaling 70 minutes -- with 13 drivers failing to finish the 200-lap race.
The Nationwide Series takes a rare weekend off before heading to Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park for the Oct. 25 Kroger 250. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage simulcast by SPEED and ESPN Classic beginning with its pre-race show at 3 p.m. The race will also be broadcast live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 128.
The Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota returns to action Nov. 1 with Denny Hamlin at the wheel for the O'Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.