Driver of the No. 20 GameStop Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing Becomes Youngest NASCAR Nationwide Series Winner Ever Joey Logano became the youngest winner in NASCAR Nationwide Series history as he drove the No. 20 GameStop Toyota to victory in...
Driver of the No. 20 GameStop Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing Becomes Youngest NASCAR Nationwide Series Winner Ever
Joey Logano became the youngest winner in NASCAR Nationwide Series history as he drove the No. 20 GameStop Toyota to victory in Saturday night's Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
In only his third series start since turning 18 -- the minimum age required to drive in NASCAR's top three series -- Logano started from the pole for the second weekend in a row, led the first 17 laps of the 200-lap event around the 1.5-mile oval, then came back to take the lead for good with a pass of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Kyle Busch 53 laps from the finish and never looked back.
Twenty-one days after his 18th birthday, Logano is almost 10 months younger than the previous youngest Nationwide Series winner -- Casey Atwood, who drove to victory at The Milwaukee Mile at the age of 18 years, 10 months and nine days.
Logano led five times for 76 laps, the second-highest tally in the race only to Busch, who led four times for 85 laps and was Logano's chief threat for the race win before spinning and then crashing heavily into the SAFER barrier while exiting turn two on lap 163, damaging his No. 18 Toyota beyond repair.
"This team is amazing," said a jubilant Logano, who just a week ago won his first career Nationwide Series pole in only his second career start at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, then led 64 laps before a mid-race incident foiled his victory bid. "I can't thank GameStop and Toyota enough. It's just amazing. We unloaded not where we wanted to, but no one gave up. This team worked really hard and got the win out of this thing. It's pretty awesome to get my first win."
JGR crew chief Dave Rogers, whose No. 20 Nationwide Series team has now scored seven wins with four different drivers (four with Tony Stewart and one each with Busch, Logano and Denny Hamlin), credited his driver and team's perseverance in qualifying for the pole after a not-so-satisfying practice session earlier in the day, and then rallying to recapture the lead for good with 53 laps to go.
"This race is probably a characteristic of this GameStop Toyota Camry and all the guys that work on it," Rogers said. "Like Joey said, we came off the truck really tight. The guys changed everything but the door number and the name above the door. They worked really hard and kept working on it through the race. The pit crew did a good job and the driver willed it to the front. I'm really proud of this win."
When asked after the race to assess Logano's talent, Rogers resorted to a little dry humor. "Three starts, two poles, one win. He's okay."
Logano's victory widened the No. 20 car's lead in the Nationwide Series owner standings, putting it 116 points ahead of the No. 2 entry of Richard Childress Racing after 16 of 35 races on the schedule.