Aug. 8, 2015
By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Penalty? So what?
Polesitter Joey Logano shook off a pit road infraction that sent him to the back of the field early in Saturday’s Zippo 200 at The Glen.
But by the end of the NASCAR XFINITY Series race, Logano’s No. 12 Team Penske Ford was comfortably at the front of the field. The only other car that was close was the No. 22 of teammate Brad Keselowski, who recovered from a pit road speeding penalty to finish second.
“Everything went as planned,” said Logano, who was penalized for dragging a fuel can from his pit stall after a green-flag stop on Lap 20 of 82. “It was fun to have a car that was that fast, out there racing these guys and racing your teammate there for the win. It shows a lot about our organization.”
Logano was 22nd when he restarted on Lap 27 after NASCAR threw the second caution of the race to retrieve the errant fuel can. With the help of two quick cautions, he drove quickly to the front, and on Lap 49, Logano passed Keselowski for the lead, drag-racing his teammate from the exit of Turn 7 to the start/finish line and clearing him through Turn 1.
“I knew my car was fast enough to get there,” Logano said of the quick run to the front. “I didn’t know if I was going to run them all down in that one run like that. I didn’t think that would happen, but it showed a lot of strength in our race car.”
It was the first road course victory for Logano in any of NASCAR’s top series.
“I’ve been so close to winning with the 22 team on the (Sprint) Cup side and this XFINITY team has been close to winning here lately, so it’s nice to get Team Penske back in Victory Lane,” said Logano, who had Sprint Cup crew chief Todd Gordon calling the race and his Sprint Cup crew servicing the car on pit road to gain experience for Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at The Glen (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN), the 22nd race on the Cup schedule.
If Logano and Keselowski dominated at the front of the field, leading 39 and 40 laps, respectively, behind them was chaos.
XFINITY Series title contender Regan Smith suffered the brunt of the damage, getting the short end of run-ins with both Ty Dillon and Brendan Gaughan. Smith came home 20th and lost 18 points to XFINITY Series leader Chris Buescher, who finished third.
After stopping by Gaughan’s car for a few words post-race, Smith headed for Dillon. The argument started to get physical, before NASCAR officials and crew members separated the drivers.
Dillon admitted making two mistakes during the race, the first of which spun Smith’s JR Motorsports Chevrolet after a restart on Lap 40. What Dillon didn’t countenance was a threat from Smith.
“He said he was going to wreck me — we’ll see,” Dillon said. “I took the blame for it, but he came down here picking a fight. That’s a different game.”
After the altercation, Smith repeated the promise to reporters.
“I got dumped in Turn 1,” Smith said. “It was pretty plain and simple. I don’t think I’m the only one he dumped today… I guarantee you, I might have lost the championship today, but he did, too. There’s no chance that 3 car wins the championship, and I’m going to make sure of it.”
Substituting for Kyle Busch, who opted not to run the race in favor of staying fresh for Sunday’s Cup race, road course ace Boris Said finished fourth, followed by Dillon and Brian Scott.
Buescher extended his series lead to 24 points over Dillon and seventh-place finisher Chase Elliott. Smith is fourth in the standings, now 57 points behind Buescher.