|Logano wins Nationwide stop at Chicagoland|
|Sunday, July 21, 2013 11:51 PM|
JOLIET, Ill. — When “The Captain” asked, Joey Logano answered.
Did he ever.
Logano held off Sam Hornish Jr. to win the NASCAR Nationwide race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, leading a sweep of top two spots for Roger Penske after the owner asked him to drive the No. 22 car on a rare weekend off for the Sprint Cup series.
“Really big for us to get a 1-2 finish for Penske. That’s awesome,” Logano said. “To come out here, our goal is to win this thing. That’s why I came out here on my off-week, it was to come out here and win.”
Penske, nicknamed “The Captain,” approached Logano this month during the NASCAR stop at Daytona and asked if he would drive in the first of two Nationwide races at Chicagoland this season. Penske wanted a boost in the race for the owners’ championship and Logano sure delivered on the request.
“How do you say no to R. P.?” Logano asked, grinning. “I’m glad I did it.”
Logano, the lone Sprint Cup regular in the race, earned his second Nationwide win of the year and No. 20 for his career. He also won at Dover in June. Hornish held on for second and moved into the top spot in the series standings, seven points better than Regan Smith.
Austin Dillon led two times for a total of 24 laps and finished third to earn a $100,000 bonus. Dillon is third on the points list but is still looking for his first victory of the year.
“We just keep inching on this first win,” he said. “We’re getting closer and closer. These top-3s — we’ll take them all day; we just want to get that win here pretty soon.”
Elliott Sadler had the lead on a restart with 24 laps remaining. But the defending race winner faded as Hornish moved in front on the track where he won consecutive IndyCar races in 2002 and 2003.
Hornish looked in position to secure the victory when Logano roared into the lead and went on to the win.
“I’m glad it wasn’t three or four more laps longer because he was catching us,” Logano added. “And it was getting to the point that I was going to have to move around to find some speed again. But just about the right amount of laps.”
Sadler finished fourth, followed by Brian Vickers, Parker Kligerman and Trevor Bayne. Illinois native Justin Allgaier, Brad Sweet and Matt Crafton rounded out the top 10.
The series to Chicagoland returns in September on the same weekend that the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship begins at the track.
Sadler and Smith did not see very much of each other one week after their collision at New Hampshire led to a midweek phone call to clear the air. Sadler confronted Smith right after the race, promising he would not win the series title, and then said he would race the No. 7 Chevrolet differently in the future.
There were no such problems at Chicagoland, with Sadler racing near the front and Smith struggling with the feel of his car all day long. Smith, who entered the race with a 5-point lead over Hornish in the series standings, slid into the infield on Lap 129 and finished 13th.
Hornish won his second career pole earlier in the day, then led the first 49 laps. But he was flagged for speeding into pit road and sent to the back of the field for a restart on lap 54. He quickly climbed back into contention but couldn’t get to Logano at the end.
The penalty was the result of a mixed message on the radio that ended with Hornish’s team abruptly calling him into the pits.
“I knew exactly when I went across the line I was going to be speeding and there were no ifs, ands or buts about it,” Hornish explained. “They’re like, ‘Oh, I think we’re good.’ I’m like, ‘We’re not good. We’re going to go to the back.’
“We had 150 laps to get it done; we knew we had a good race car. The biggest thing was just maintaining the composure getting back up in the field.”
Sadler was still upset with Smith when the series arrived in Chicagoland this week. The dispute started when Smith spun Sadler around on the final restart in last Saturday’s race at Loudon, costing him a shot at a solid top-10 finish and a potential $100,000 bonus.
Smith took responsibility for the accident,and Dale Earnhardt Jr., the co-owner of Smith’s car, also reached out to his longtime friend Sadler. But it did little to assuage Sadler’s anger.
Perhaps fueled a bit by the incident, Sadler led three times for a race-high 81 laps on the 1.5-mile, D-shaped track right outside of Chicago. But he just couldn’t stay with Logano and Hornish at the end.
“By the time that his car started falling off, it was too late for me to do enough,” Hornish added. “Ran him down, only finished a couple car lengths behind him, but really good day for the Penske organization.”
Graf, Luhr win American Le Mans Series race
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario — Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr won the American Le Mans Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday and Marino Franchitti and Scott Tucker topped the P2 prototype class.
Luhr extended his ALMS victory record to 45 with the P1 win in the No. 6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03c prototype in the 2-hour, 45-minute race on the 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit. It was the fifth consecutive win at the track for Luhr and Graf, who led every lap Sunday en route to their fourth victory of the season.
Franchitti, the younger brother of 3-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti, teamed with Tucker in the No. 551 Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort HPD ARX-03b to edge Scott Sharp and Guy Cosmo in the No. 01 Tequila Patron HPD ARX-03b, giving Level 5 Motorsports its fourth victory of the season.
“The days when you win with a car that isn’t maybe the fastest are the most satisfying,” Franchitti said. “I’ve always said this is my favorite track and I’ve never been able to win here before today.”
In the GT class, reigning series champions Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin won in the No. 4 Compuware Chevrolet Corvette, edging the No. 91 SRT Viper of Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens by 0.267 seconds. It was Milner’s 40th ALMS class victory, third on the career list behind Luhr and Olivier Beretta (42).
“I had to do whatever I could do to hold him off without getting a penalty,” Milner said about his closing duel with Farnbacher. “Our car wasn’t quite as good as theirs. I told myself going into Turn 8 on that last lap that I was either going to spin myself out or it was going to stick and I was going to keep the lead. I threw it in there and I here I am.”
Johnson wins again in Mile-High NHRA Nationals
MORRISON, Colo. — Defending Pro Stock champion Allen Johnson won the Mile-High NHRA Nationals for the fifth time Sunday, holding off Colorado native V. Gaines in the final round.
Making his seventh straight final-round appearance in the event, Johnson raced to his fourth victory of the year with a 6.989-second run at 196.87 mph in a Dodge Avenger. He was two straight victories at the Colorado track and four in the past five years.
“My crew is the reason that we’ve had all of this success for the last seven races here,” Johnson said. “They are just so determined to win it every year. I have to thank them and give them all of the credit.”
Spencer Massey won the Top Fuel division, Cruz Pedregon topped the Funny Car field and Shawn Gann won in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Massey raced to his third victory of the season and 13th of his career, beating Bob Vandergriff in the final. Massey powered his dragster to a 3.974 at 309.27.
Pedregon won for the first time in Denver since 1993, powered his Toyota Camry to 4.233 at 295.46 to edge Bob Tasca III. Pedregon has three victories this year and 33 overall.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Gann claimed his first victory since winning in Denver in 2004, riding his Buell to a 7.351 at 181.08 to beat points leader Hector Arana Jr.
LaJoie wins ARCA race at Chicagoland
JOLIET, Ill. — Corey LaJoie won the ARCA stop at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday for his first career victory in the series.
LaJoie is the son of Randy LaJoie, a 2-time champion on NASCAR’s second-tier circuit. It was only the second ARCA start for the 21-year-old LaJoie.
Justin Boston was leading late in the race but ran out of gas and LaJoie took advantage. Ryan Blaney also was hurt by fuel problems.
Josh Williams was second, followed by Blaney, Will Kimmel and Chad Boat.
Frank Kimmel, who is tied for the ARCA record with 79 wins, was ninth. Kimmel’s 79 wins have come at 28 tracks, including Chicagoland Speedway in 2003.