Logano claims 4th Nationwide win

Updated: October 4, 2009, 12:23 AM ET
Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- That horrific barrel roll at Dover, the one that looked more like a scene from "Talladega Nights" than a real NASCAR wreck?

Turns out it gave Joey Logano confidence, not fear.

Passing points leader Kyle Busch with three laps left, Logano won at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, pulling out his fourth Nationwide victory less than a week after that spectacular crash during a Sprint Cup race.

"If you can barrel roll a race car like that and come out OK, it's going to give you confidence to drive it harder," Logano said. "I didn't think it was a big deal at all coming into today. I knew a lot of people did and were wondering how I was going to be. This should put it all to rest, I hope."

[+] EnlargeJoey Logano
Geoff Burke/Getty ImagesJoey Logano passed Kyle Busch to win for the fourth time this year in the Nationwide Series. Busch has finished second in each of those.

In the days leading up to Kansas, Logano assured everyone the Dover crash wouldn't affect his aggressiveness on the track. Sure, he was shaky, even after walking away from the care center. Rolling a car seven times will tend to do that to a driver, even if he walks away unscathed, as Logano did.

Whether it was the nerves of a 19-year-old or the nature of a race-car driver, Logano wasn't about to let fear climb into his head.

He proved it at Kansas.

Overcoming early handling problems, Logano stayed near the front for most of the race, then made his move after a late caution. Even a near wreck didn't slow him down; Logano regrouped, hit the accelerator and passed Busch for his fifth career Nationwide win.

"I had no fear," Logano said. "I didn't think about anything like that and I don't think 90 percent of these race car drivers think like that."

Busch came up short against Logano yet again.

He had the strongest car most of the day, leading 173 of the 200 laps on the 1.5-mile oval. Busch has led 2,226 laps this season, breaking the season series record of 2,127 set by Sam Ard in 1984.

He just didn't have enough to hold off Logano, who came back to beat him in the closing laps for the fourth time this season. Busch still extended his lead over Carl Edwards (seventh) to 245 points with six races left, but has finished second in all four of Logano's Nationwide wins this season.

Brad Keselowski finished third.

"It's pretty self-explanatory: it is frustrating," said Busch, who has 25 top-10 finishes this season. "We had a great race car today. We were good in the points. I've done that about 12 times this year so it ain't the first time and it certainly ain't going to be the last time."

Busch started strong, taking the lead from pole sitter Parker Kligerman at the start/finish line on Lap 9 and lost it just once on a non-caution lap over the first 196 laps.

Logano, who started seventh, had handling issues early and spent most of the race trying to figure which line to run on the track, struggling to find away around the drivers in front of him. Still, he was able to stay near the lead most of the day and clinged to Busch's bumper down the stretch, waiting for a window to pass.

Logano appeared to miss one chance coming out of a caution with six laps left, briefly losing control of his car and having to back while trying to pass Busch on the inside. He regrouped, quickly made up the lost ground and got Busch two laps later, racing past him on the outside then pulling away down the stretch.

Not bad for a guy who was flipped around like one of those stick helicopter toys just six days ago.

"I was quite frankly sick of hearing about it," Logano's crew chief Dave Rogers said of the crash. "I wanted to see him win this race and maybe stop the talk and talk about winning races and leading laps, like we should be."

Kligerman had a rough first Nationwide race after what had been an incredible start to the weekend.

The 19-year-old raced to his eighth ARCA victory of the season Thursday, moving with 15 points of series leader Justin Lofton. Kligerman then became the 10th driver in series history to win the pole in his first Nationwide start despite having never run a practice lap before this weekend.

The race was a bit of a struggle.

Kligerman, a developmental driver for Penske Racing, lost the lead to Busch early on and kept dropping through the field, falling to 21st after 60 laps. He made a small rally from there and finished 16th.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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