Joey Logano wins at Darlington
DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Joey Logano wrecked leader Elliott Sadler five laps from the end, then broke free during a green-white-checkered finish at Darlington Raceway for his second straight Nationwide Series victory.
James: Danica finshes 12th
At Darlington -- perhaps the toughest track on the Nationwide circuit -- Danica Patrick tied her second-best finish of the year, writes Brant James. Story
Logano was in third place after the fifth caution period tightened up the race at the end. Logano bumped Sadler at the restart, turning the lead car into the wall. Logano then shot past Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin during NASCAR's version of overtime and held on for his third series victory of the season.
For much of the night, this race looked like Hamlin's. He moved in front early are led for 102 of the 147 laps. Hamlin was ahead by nearly seven seconds with 20 laps to go when Kurt Busch hit the wall to bring out the fourth caution flag.
Sadler took two tires as the leaders pitted and beat the field out to move in front. He held the spot only 12 laps until Brendan Gaughan's wreck set up the decisive restart.
Logano bumped Sadler as the cars came to the line, eventually sending the Nationwide Series regular right into the outside wall and leaving his car badly wrecked.
Sadler was visibly angry when he left the car, pacing and grimacing while his team inspected the damage. Sadler said he understood what Logano was doing, but he needed to show awareness of how treacherous Darlington can be.
"You just don't bump draft every place you go, especially not at a place like Darlington," Sadler said.
Logano apologized to Sadler on the radio moments after the incident. "Tell Elliott that I didn't mean to do that," he said. "I was trying to push him out ahead like the last restart. He started spinning his tires"
Logano quickly took control of the green-while-checkered finish as he shot past Hamlin to open up a lead of several car lengths. Logano's win was the sixth in the past seven Nationwide events at Darlington for Joe Gibbs Racing drivers.
Hamlin said engine problems robbed his team of power to compete with Logano at the end.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who started from the poll, finished sixth and took a 23-point lead over Sadler in the series standings. Brian Scott was seventh, followed by Busch in eighth, James Buescher in ninth and Cole Whitt in 10th.
For Patrick, it was her third top-15 finish in her past four Nationwide races in her first season in NASCAR. It also ended a harried day of practice and qualifying in Sprint Cup and Nationwide in her first -ever tour of "The Lady in Black."
Pastrana also made it through on a circuit he said at first had him as "scared" as he'd ever been driving in NASCAR.
"With rally, there's certain times that there's a 100-foot cliff or trees or snow or fog or whatever and that's scary," Pastrana said. "But this, you know what's coming up and the fact that it is still scary is still overwhelming."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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