By Brian Smith
Cruise control is not an approved piece of equipment in NASCAR. (Speedometers aren’t either, for that matter.) But if it were, Joey Logano simply could have set his to “fast” at Dover International Speedway on Saturday, speedometer not necessary.
Logano led 184 of the 200 laps, just nine laps short of the track record of 193 led by Ryan Newman in 2005, to win the “OneMain Financial 200″ NASCAR Nationwide Series race. He picked up his seventh win of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season and his second of the year at Dover, becoming the third driver in as many years to sweep both races at the Monster Mile. Carl Edwards won both a year ago, and Kyle Busch accomplished the feat in 2010.
Logano felt the team benefited from the fact that Friday’s practice session saw changing track conditions, much the same as Saturday’s race did. The team was able to make a plan for changes as the track changed, and it fell into place as expected.
“Once the track rubbered up, it went right to where we thought it would,” Logano said. “We were able to just stay out front most of the day after that.”
Justin Allgaier, who started second, drove away with the lead on the green flag and held it for the first 13 laps. But Logano caught him at that point and only yielded the top spot for three laps during a scheduled competition caution on lap 48.
There were only two cautions the rest of the race, both for blown engines – one for Jeremy Clements on lap 117 and another for Tim Andrews on lap 178. In the meantime, Logano’s main threats fell off one by one, almost as if he had invisible shields up. Allgaier was running second with 59 laps to go when something broke in his front suspension. Later, Sam Hornish, Jr. had closed to within two seconds, but blew a tire.
Paul Menard finished second, followed by Michael Annett, who tied his career best finish in the series. Elliott Sadler finished fourth, and in doing so was able to extend his points lead in the Nationwide series. The order of drivers remained the same, but most of the top-10 lost a little ground to Sadler. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. is now nine points back, and Austin Dillon slipped to 25 points behind Sadler.
Kyle Busch was fifth, while Cole Whitt, Brian Scott, Kasey Kahne, Stenhouse and Dillon rounded out the top 10.
The race ran at an average speed of 123.723 mph, making it the fastest NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover since the fall of 2003. Eighteen cars finished on the lead lap.
For complete results, click here.