Joey Logano Wins Mansfield 250 Mansfield, OH - Move over Brian Vickers, there's a new youngster on the Pro Cup lot. Prior to the running of the Mansfield 250 presented by Hooters Air at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway, Vickers held the record...
Joey Logano Wins Mansfield 250
Mansfield, OH - Move over Brian Vickers, there's a new youngster on the Pro Cup lot.
Prior to the running of the Mansfield 250 presented by Hooters Air at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway, Vickers held the record for being the youngest driver to win a Hooters Pro Cup Series event for his victory at USA International Speedway on June 3, 2000 as 16-year-old. After the running of the Mansfield 250, the record now belongs to Joey Logano.
"Last week, I read that that Brian Vickers had the record, and I really wanted to break it," said Logano, driver of the No. 51 Logano Motorsports Ford. "I really didn't think we had the car to beat tonight, but we put ourselves in the right position."
On a night that saw Pro Cup veterans knock each other out of contention, Logano's patience paid off in the slugfest.
The newly-turned 15-year-old took the lead on Lap 229 after Shane Huffman was hit with a rough-driving penalty for an altercation with race-leader Jeff Agnew on Lap 227.
After Huffman and Agnew fell to the rear of the field, Logano separated himself from second-place running Mardy Lindley, driver of the No. 16 Hooters Air Ford, by four car lengths by Lap 245. But with two laps to go, the race's final caution set up a green-white-checkered finish.
"I came over the radio and said, 'I didn't need that,'" said Logano. "We had a four-car length lead! I've never been nervous in a racecar, but I was thinking on that restart, make sure you don't miss any gears and all that stuff. I didn't say anything on the radio. I just tried to get a good restart. I was looking in my mirror more than I was looking in front of me. After I got in front of [Lindley] in the corner, he looked like he got loose, and we were able to pull away."
Lindley's slip cost him a shot at Logano, but it also allowed Mike Laughlin Jr., driver of the No. 7 Titan Industrial Ford, to dive underneath on the last lap to take second in the Mansfield 250, a race that he wasn't planning on attending.
"The racing bug got me," Laughlin said of his late entry. "I can't thank Titan Industrial enough for the support they give me. It was great night for us, and I'm real happy the way things turned out tonight."
But was Laughlin surprised to see a 15-year-old in front of him at the finish?
"Nothing surprises me in racing anymore," said Laughlin, who finished .697 seconds behind Logano. "These kids start so young now. But I tell you what; the kid drove a helluva race tonight. I was just amazed at the way he handled the pressure. He drove his own race, and he didn't worry about who was behind him."
Lindley was hoping he would. "I wasn't going to hit the boy to win," said Lindley. "I got into Shelby Howard earlier, and I didn't mean to do that. When I had that deal with Shelby, Logano was able to get around us, and it ended up being track position after that. We we're running the same times. I think the deal with Shelby cost me the race."
Howard, Lindley, Agnew and Huffman weren't the only contenders to trade paint and receive penalties during the night.
Benny Gordon, driver of the No. 66 Predator Performance Ford, who led a race-high 98 laps to pick up the Greased Lightning "Blast the Pack" Award, was charging back to the front after an out-of-sequence pit stop when he made contact with Mart Nesbitt. Gordon continued on, but Nesbitt, driver of the No. 88 BCBS Ford, spun in Turn 1 and Gordon received a rough-driving penalty, ending his chance at his third win of the year and dropping him to eighth at the finish.
The beating and banging continued all the way to the finish when the battle for third erupted in the final turn. D.J. Kennington and Shelby Howard were fighting for position when contact sent Howard around. Kennington, driver of the No. 17 SM Freight Inc Pontiac, held on for fifth at the finish, but Howard dropped to 15th.
Glenn Gault enjoyed his best finish of the season, coming home third after a late-race pass of Mardy Lindley.
In addition to winning the race, Logano picked up the $1,000 prize for being the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race.
The Mansfield 250 was slowed 16 times for 82 caution laps and featured five lead changes among five drivers.
Mansfield 250 Notebook
Joey Logano not only became the youngest winner in Pro Cup history with his victory in the Mansfield 250, but his win was the first by rookie driver this season. Last year, Gary St. Amant and Brad Rogers went to victory lane during their first seasons in Pro Cup.
While most of the attention, with good reason, was given to Joey Logano after the Mansfield 250, Glenn Gault, driver of the No. 32 American Title & Trust Chevy, made a statement for the middle-age contingent. Gault, 56, picked up his best finish of the season by coming home third.
"The crew did a wonderful job tonight," said Gault. "The car just got real, real, real tight at the end, but we did the best we could with it. As long as I kept it on the bottom, we were good. It just all worked out for us."
By moving from 23rd to third at the finish, Gault split the Mr. Gasket Hard Charger Award with D.J. Kennington for advancing 20 positions.
On more than several occasions, the Mansfield 250 saw plenty of bumper tag. Mart Nesbitt got punted by Benny Gordon. Mardy Lindley door-slapped Shelby Howard, and Howard later hooked A.J. Frank. D.J. Kennington mixed it up with Howard coming to the stripe for the final time. However, the most noticeable bump came between Jeff Agnew and Shane Huffman, mostly because it was for the lead.
"Obviously, I hated what happened," said Huffman, driver of the No. 81 Knight's Companies Ford. "Jeff and I have raced each other hard for a lot of years. I got a good run off [Turn] two and going into [Turn] three. I don't know if he didn't gas up or just hesitated. We're dealing with inches out here not feet. I hate that he didn't get a chance to win the race."
Clay Rogers, driver of the No. 44 Johnny's Suzuki/Baird Transport Ford, competed in the Craftsman Truck Series event at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday. Driving the No. 65 Glynn Motorsports Dodge, Rogers finished eighth in just his second NCTS start, but there was no time for celebrating, Rogers had to get to Mansfield for Saturday's Pro Cup race. Rogers made it to Mansfield, but was late for the driver's meeting, relegating him to the rear for the start of the race after he qualified third.
Rogers carefully navigated his way through the pack and moved into the top five by Lap 129 of the Mansfield 250. However, after a late-race pit stop, Rogers dropped to ninth at the finish.
Four of the top-six drivers in Southern Division points showed up for the Mansfield 250, trying to gain valuable seat time for the Championship Series race in October. They may have gathered notes, but their finishing positions weren't what they were looking for. Toby Porter finished 33rd, Jody Lavender finished 32nd, Mark McFarland finished 26th, Michael Ritch finished 25th, Shane Huffman finished 12th and Clay Rogers finished ninth.
For the 12th time this season, the Team Hooters Challenge and the Tucson "Win from the Pole" Award went unclaimed. Mark McFarland, driver of the No. 32 WINFUEL Chevy, was chosen by a lucky fan to win the Mansfield 250 as part of the Team Hooters Challenge. Unfortunately for McFarland and the fan, the JR Motorsports entry was sidelined with mechanical failure on Lap 135.
Shelby Howard, who won the Advance Auto Parts Pole Award, was unable complete the first-to-first run. Howard, driver of the No. 20 Tony Stewart's Smoke Bar-B-Que Sauce Pontiac, led 59 laps, but a last-lap crash dropped him to 15th at the finish.