By Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent
- Logano claims 1st win at Daytona
- Leffler finishes 2nd
- Sorenson gets 3rd & Dash 4 Cash bonus
Logano leads final lap for Nationwide win at Daytona
Joey Logano may be used to being the pusher when it comes to restrictor plate racing, but his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was the car in front when the checkered flag waved on Friday, signaling him as the winner of the Subway Jalapeno 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway .
“It feels good to be on this side of it,” Logano said.
It was a good race there at the end.
Logano was pushed to the lead on the final lap by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Kyle Busch, in the No. 18 Toyota. The two JGR drivers lost their draft coming to the checkered flag, though, and Busch drifted back to finish in the fourth position. The final lap was the only lap of the race Logano led.
Logano and Busch didn’t work with each other most of the race, as it took them until lap 71 of the 100-lap event to find the perfect opportunity to pair up and make their charge toward the front.
“It took us awhile to find each other,” Logano said.
The Turner Motorsports duo of Jason Leffler in the No. 38 Chevrolet and Reed Sorenson in the No. 32 Chevrolet battled the JGR tandem for the win on the final lap but ran out of time to get by before the end of the race. Leffler, instead, finished second and Sorenson was third.
“It was a good race there at the end,” Logano said.
As the highest finisher among himself, teammate Justin Allgaier in the No. 31 Chevrolet, Elliott Sadler in the No. 2 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, Sorenson claimed the first Nationwide Dash 4 Cash bonus of the season -- an extra $100,000.
“At the end, I didn’t know where we were going,” Sorenson said of not being able to see above the spoiler on Leffler’s car. “We made it through the wreck (on the final lap) and drove to the front.
As Logano drove to the win, several cars wrecked behind him, including the No. 1 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet of Jamie McMurray, the No. 01 J-D Motorsports Chevrolet of Mike Wallace, the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Danica Patrick, the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Aric Almirola, The No. 66 Rusty Wallace Racing Toyota of Steve Wallace and the No. 9 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet of Tony Stewart.
“There was just nowhere to go,” Patrick said.
According to Patrick, Mike Wallace slid up in front of her and she wasn’t able to get checked up.
Allgaier finished fifth to put three of the four Turner Motorsports in the top-five finishing order.
Joe Gibbs Racing and Turner Motorsports may have claimed the entire top-five at the finish, but it was all Kevin Harvick Inc. earlier in the day during qualifying. The four KHI Chevrolet drivers -- Sadler, team owner Kevin Harvick in the No. 4, Clint Bowyer in the No. 33 and Stewart claimed the top-four starting spots. Harvick led the group with the pole. The four drivers split into pairs from the start of the race, with Sadler and Harvick working together while Stewart and Bowyer teamed up.
Bowyer fell off the pace on lap four, reporting to his team that he thought there was an issue with his driveline. The problem ended up being a loose left rear wheel. Bowyer fell off the lead lap, but finally got back on it under the third caution of the race that came out on lap 43. Once Bowyer was back on the lead lap, Harvick fell back through the field to pick him up.
We made it through the wreck (on the final lap) and drove to the front.
With Harvick in the back, Stewart, who had worked with Patrick right after Bowyer’s issue, teamed up with Sadler. The two ran at or near the front for much of the race. As a matter of fact, Sadler was credited with leading the most laps -- 31.
Bowyer and Harvick eventually made their way back toward the front, and Bowyer led a lap late in the race, but the two lost contact with each other, as did Sadler and Stewart, in the closing laps. By the end of the race, Sadler was the only one of the four in the top-10, finishing eighth.
While the front seemed like the calm place to be on the racetrack through much of the race, pairs working together seemed to have a hard time sticking together in the final laps. Both KHI duos slid back several positions late in the going when they each let space get in between their cars.
The JR Motorsports duo of Patrick and Almirola also spent time up front late in the race, but like other up-front pairings, they weren’t able to stay attached and lost spots. Almirola wound up ninth and Danica Patrick was 10th after both were involved in the last lap wreck as Logano took the checkered flag.