Logano Perfect In Drive To Stop Diabetes 300 Victory
Yes, up to that point, he had led every lap in the XFINITY Series race.
"Winning the race is the ultimate goal no matter what," Logano said. "But you also don't want anyone by for half a lap because you want to be able to say you led every lap."
And he did.
Logano set a record Saturday for laps led in an XFINITY Series race and became the first driver to lead every lap in the 66 times the series has raced at the famed half-mile.
The 300-lap race was decided on the opening lap when Logano in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford passed polesitter Erik Jones. The Sprint Cup Series regular stayed out front through pit stops, eight cautions, a more than 10-minute red flag, and all the subsequent restarts.
The victory was Logano's second this season and 23rd career in the XFINITY Series.
"It's not very often when you get a car that's that fast," he said. "When you have a car like that the whole race you're just hoping that something doesn't go wrong. You're looking for the checkered flag because it's pretty neat to say you've led every single lap. That's a pretty neat thing. I've never done that before in my career, I think, in any kind of race cars."
The last caution and ensuing restart with 13 laps remaining added some late drama but Logano quickly extinguished the possibility of being caught and passed by the competition.
Twelve cars finished on the lead lap.
"This second-place is just unbelievable," Suarez said. "I really feel super happy for my team and I believe we are building a lot of confidence and we are building on that - learning. I just can't explain with words what I'm feeling right now, but I'm very happy."
Buescher and Dillon are tied for the points lead after seven races.
"It's early," Buescher said. "We recognize that we're in a very, very good spot right now and we've worked very hard to get to that point. But it's early."
Jones earned his first career pole at Bristol Motor Speedway and third consecutive in the XFINITY Series in qualifying Saturday morning. The driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota posted a 125.158 mph lap and at 18 years, 10 months and 19 days old distinguished himself as the youngest XFINITY Series pole winner in the history of Bristol Motor Speedway.
When the race started, Jones didn't hold the lead for long. Logano passed him on the inside by the time they exited Turn 2.
"We had a great race car and we had good speed," Jones said. "We didn't have track position at the end of the day and it burned us when I missed a shift on the start and that was all my fault and put ourselves in a hole.
"It's just so tough here. You ride around single file on the top and you can't pass. It makes for a long day for sure when you're trying to make some spots up. We battled hard and we made good adjustments, got the car better. We'll work on it a little more and bring it back in the fall."
For the first half of the race, it looked like it would come down to Logano and Kevin Harvick.
Harvick was flagged for speeding on pit road under caution on Lap 174 and dropped back to 10th place on the restart.
"I didn't think I was even pushing it," Harvick radioed to his team.
He ducked on pit road under caution on Lap 183 and his crew swapped the new tires that they had just put on his car with the ones from the previous run. As the last car on the lead lap to begin with, the stop didn't affect his position and allowed the team to save a fresher set of tires for later in the race.
By Lap 207, Jones had pulled back into contention. He was second behind Logano when a wreck involving JJ Yeley brought out the race's seventh caution. A splitter stuck under the wall in Turn 4 then red-flagged the race for 10 minutes, 8 seconds.
Logano quickly separated himself from Jones, who was passed by Suarez following a restart with 86 laps remaining. Harvick made a late pit stop to put those fresher tires back on his car but was unable to get to the front. He finished seventh.
"We were up pretty late last night trying to get this (car) sorted out and an early morning," said Greg Erwin, crew chief for Logano and the No. 22 team. "So it feels good for it to all kind of culminate in an effort like this. This guy is unreal."