Joey Logano drove into victory lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday night following the Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race to celebrate his first-career win at the track, but it wasn’t his first win of the year. The win on Friday was Logano’s eighth in Nationwide competition in 2012, despite only competing in 18 races, to this point.
“I’m glad to get these guys in victory lane one more time,” Logano said. “We’ve still got a few more left.”
Kevin Harvick finished second and series points leader Elliott Sadler finished third. Sadler was the only Nationwide Series regular to finish in the top-five. Kyle Busch was fourth and Denny Hamlin was fifth.
With his top-three finish, Sadler increased his points lead over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to 13 points.
“There’s still four races left,” Stenhouse said. “That’s still a lot of time.”
Stenhouse wound up finishing seventh.
Even though he finished third, Sadler’s night was far from perfect. helost several positions on pit road during a cycle of green flag stops around lap 54 when a lug nut fell off while changing the right front tire.
Logano led a race-high 62 laps in the 200-lap event and was among the drivers who took two tires, along with a splash of fuel, on a green-flag pit stop in the final 20 laps. The call to take two tires was one Logano questioned at the time.
“I should know better than to question Adam Stevens,” Logano said. “He’s absolutely amazing. He made some great calls.”
Several drivers, including Harvick, Brad Keselowski, and Busch took fuel only on their final stops, but Logano was still able to come out on top by the time the final cycle of green-flag stops completed.
Keselowski was forced to give up several positions in the final laps when he was notified over the radio that his crew didn’t get enough fuel in the car. Despite slowing to save gas, Keselowski ran out of gas with four laps to go and wound up finishing 18th after running at or near the front for most of the race.
“It was very fast,” Keselowski said. “We had a car to win with tonight, but they won’t go without gas.”
The race got off to a slow start when the yellow flag waved on lap one and then again on lap 13, just two laps after going back to green from the first lengthy caution for fluids on the race track. In all, the yellow flag waved five times throughout the race.
Sadler wasn’t the only championship contender to have issues on pit road. Stenhouse lost several positions pits during a debris caution with 69 laps to go when his crew attempted to repair a damaged spoiler.
Austin Dillon, the third-place driver in the points standings, suffered his pit road problem earlier in the race. During a caution on lap 82, Dillon took only two tires to get off pit road second. But because of an equipment violation on pit road, he was relegated to the back of the lead lap for the restart. He was able to recover, somewhat, to finish sixth and hold on to his third position in the points standings.
Brian Scott finished eighth, James Buescher was ninth and Michael Annett was 10th.
With his 10th-place race finish, Annett moved into the top-five of the points standings, replacing Justin Allgaier in fifth. Allgaier’s race went south after contact with the No. 12 of Sam Hornish Jr. that brought out the second caution on lap 13.
“I got cleared and apparently I wasn’t clear,” Hornish said of the incident, going on to explain that it’s rare for his spotter to make that kind of mistake.
Ten cars finished on the lead lap. Danica Patrick was the first driver to finish a lap down, falling off the lead lap on the final lap of the race and finishing 11th.
— Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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