Kentucky: Joey Logano race report

Joey Logano Becomes "King of Kentucky" With Third-Straight Win in Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway Joey Logano kept his perfect record in tact and earned the new nickname "King of Kentucky" on Saturday night, driving his No. 20 GameStop...

Joey Logano Becomes "King of Kentucky" With Third-Straight Win in Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway

Joey Logano kept his perfect record in tact and earned the new nickname "King of Kentucky" on Saturday night, driving his No. 20 GameStop Toyota into Victory Lane, winning the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway for the third-straight year. Logano took the lead for the final time on lap 176, held off a hard-charging Carl Edwards and a fast moving rain storm to earn his seventh-career NASCAR Nationwide Series victory and his first of the 2010 season.

"I don't know what it is about this place, but I guess I really like it," joked Logano after the race. "I never really thought we'd go two-for-two. And now to go three-for-three at this place is pretty amazing. I also won a Legends car race here when I was just 12 (the Young Lions Nationals), so I guess I'm really four-for-four at this place. I can now call Kentucky my favorite racetrack for sure."

Logano also kept another perfect streak alive at Kentucky, earning his third-straight pole award earlier in the day. Logano's blistering qualifying lap of 30.472 seconds was nearly a half-second faster than the second-place qualifier, teammate Brad Coleman.

When the green flag flew, Logano took the lead early and led until the first round of pit stops on lap 22. Pit strategy and an approaching weather front forced a number of cars to utilize different pit strategies, but the No. 20 GameStop Toyota always remained near the front. Logano led on five different occasions during the evening and took the lead for the final time following a late-race restart from Brendan Gaughan, then held off a charging Edwards to take the victory. Logano led a race-high 106 of the 200 laps en route to the victory.

"Of all of my Nationwide Series wins, this might be the most special of them, because I really hard to work for this one. We knew that the rain was coming and Kevin kept telling me that I needed to make sure I got into the lead and stayed there, in case the rains came before we got all 200 laps in. Then, on that late restart, the No. 62 (Gaughan) got a good jump on me and took the lead, but I just took my time and got back around him. From then on out, it was just trying to stay up front and not make any mistakes. I saw that Carl was coming, but I moved my line around a little bit and was able to start to pull away from him late in that run.

"Thankfully, we were able to get the whole race in and we were able to get this GameStop / Super Mario Galaxy 2 car into Victory Lane. I guess this means will probably have to come back next year to try and go for four-in-a-row."

Logano won at Kentucky in 2008 (coming in just his third series start) and followed it up by winning again at the track in 2009. In both 2008 and 2009, Logano started from the pole as well. In 51-career NASCAR Nationwide Series starts, he has seven wins and 11 poles.

"I just love this track," added Logano. "This place suits my driving style and it has shown, winning here now three years in a row. Now, I am hoping that we are able to get a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at this track in the near future so I can keep this hot streak going there as well.

"I just can't get over that we have won again. This is pretty sweet."

The win also marked the first for crew chief Kevin Kidd with Logano as his driver. Kidd and the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team won an event at Darlington earlier in the season with Denny Hamlin behind the wheel.

"I couldn't be any prouder of Joey. He really drove his butt off out there tonight," said Kidd. "He had to work for this win. The last couple of years he's come here, he's been able to dominate. But tonight, he had to work for it. The car wasn't great, but we were working on it. He was giving us some great feedback and we just kept making little adjustments to get the car better and it worked out in the end. We would have liked to have led every lap of the race, but in the end, it only matters if you lead one lap and that's the last one.

"Joey is a talented racecar driver. He showed that tonight. He has been through a lot in the last week and had a lot of chances for distraction, but when he was here at the track, he was totally focused on the No. 20 GameStop Toyota and getting the car better and better. He has really impressed me and I'm just glad that we were able to knock this first win out. Now that we got the first one out of the way, hopefully we'll get a few more as the year goes on."

Paul Raines, GameStop's CEO and an avid NASCAR fan, sent his well wishes to Logano after the race.

"We are all so proud of Joey and the GameStop car," said Paul Raines, CEO of GameStop. "We had almost 200 employees at the race who got to witness first-hand what a competitive driver Joey is when he pilots our car. It's great to have a driver like him who's not only passionate about racing, but about video games too. Joey is so representative of our customer base. GameStop and Joey make a powerful team, and the No. 20 car proved that last night in Kentucky."

The GameStop car sported Nintendo's Super Mario Galaxy™ 2 as the featured video game on the No. 20 GameStop Toyota during the Meijer 300. Released on May 23, Super Mario Galaxy 2 enhances the action with an array of new power-ups, gravity-defying levels and inventive game options. For the first time in this series, players can hop on the back of Mario's pal, Yoshi™, who aids him on his quest in select stages. Also, players now can choose to play as Mario or later in the game in select stages as his brother, Luigi™. The game is made exclusively for the Wii™ console.

"I'm happy to get this win for not only Paul and all of the GameStop employees, but also for Mario," joked Logano, referring to his car's Mario Galaxy 2 paint scheme. "I've always loved driving these cars when Mario is on the hood, and now I was able to get him into Victory Lane for my first win of the 2010 season. ."

With the win, Logano remained seventh on the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings despite running only 10 of the 14 races thus far. However, the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team was able to jump to second in the owner's standings. They now trail the No. 22 of Penske Racing by just 77 points.

The No. 20 GameStop Toyota will have a weekend off and then be back at it at Logano's home track on the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, for the New England 200 on June 26.

-source: jgr

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About this article
Drivers Brendan Gaughan , Carl Edwards , Brad Coleman , Denny Hamlin , Joey Logano
Teams Team Penske , Joe Gibbs Racing