NASCAR Xfinity: Joey Logano caps off Charlotte doubleheader with win
Joey Logano takes the checkered flag in the Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 9, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
Rain from Hurricane Matthew resulted in a NASCAR Sprint Cup/Xfinity series doubleheader on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., and Joey Logano was one of six drivers taking part in both races. His Sprint Cup efforts ended early, but he returned for the Xfinity Series Drive for the Cure 300 and redeemed himself with a win.
“What a fun night, for sure,” Logano said. “That was a good recovery from the first part of my day. I feel a lot better than I did about three or four hours ago when I tried to knock down the wall. I feel better now.”
Elliott Sadler finished second, Daniel Suarez was third, Kyle Larson fourth, and Erik Jones rounded out the top-five.
“It was good,” Suarez said. “Honestly, for me, it was like any other race. We just tried to go for the win, tried to be consistent. Our car was decent. It was a top-three car, I think. We went wrong; we missed it by a lot, and then, we were able to overcome once the night started to come slowly on the race track. Another solid finish.”
Sadler and Suarez had already clinched spots in the second round of the Xfinity Series first-ever chase by winning the first two races of the first round. The Charlotte race was the opening-round’s elimination race that Jones headed into on the outside looking in, but with his top-five finish, he claimed one of the eight spots in the next round.
Jones replaced Brennan Poole among the eight advancing drivers. Poole entered the race in one of the provisional advancing positions and ran near the front early on Sunday, but a power issue resulted in an 18th-place race finish, dropping him outside the top-eight.
Ty Dillon, Ryan Sieg and Brandon Jones were the other three drivers eliminated from the chase. Dillon fell just short of advancement. After an 11th-place finish, he wound up just one point shy of getting into the top-eight.
“We’re obviously really disappointed in not advancing to the next round,” Dillon said. “We feel that we’re a team that could have made it to the final round and be there on the podium in Homestead. We just didn’t have it here today.”
The cancellation of qualifying on Friday put Larson on the pole, and he dominated by leading 165 of the 200 laps that made up the race. But after losing the lead to Logano on a late-race restart after a lap-184 yellow flag, he lost additional positions after making contact with the wall multiple times in the final laps in an attempt to catch and get back by Logano.
The only driver other than Larson and Logano to lead multiple laps was Erik Jones. Most of his 21 laps led came when he stayed out to lead laps during the final cycle of green-flag pit stops. Jones gave up the lead to pit with just over 25 laps remaining, and a tire got away from his pit crew, resulting in a pit-road penalty. He was able to serve the penalty under caution, as the yellow flag waved a couple of laps later.
“Only had one mistake that got us back a little bit, but got a caution right away. Got a lucky break and finished where we needed to,” Jones said.
Finishing the race sixth through 10th were Justin Allgaier, Kevin Harvick, Matt Tifft, Brad Keselowski and Sieg.
Joining Sadler, Suarez and Erik Jones in the second round of the chase will be Justin Allgaier, Brendan Gaughan, Ryan Reed, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Blake Koch. The second round will kick-off Oct. 15 at Kansas Speedway near Kansas City.