By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Joey Logano reaffirmed his mastery of the road course at Watkins Glen International, but it took a three-wide restart late in Saturday’s Zippo 200 for the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford to get the job done.
After winning his fourth straight NASCAR Xfinity Series pole at the 2.45-mile track, Logano took teammate Brad Keselowski and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Ryan Preece three-wide into Turn 1 after a restart on lap 75 of 82.
Logano’s move forced Keselowski wide and Logano cleared his teammate before the entry to Turn 2. But Keselowski wasn’t finished. He hounded Keselowski relentlessly until Keselowski spun in Turn 1 with two laps left.
That gave Logano a comfortable margin, and he cruised to the finish line 3.362 seconds ahead of charging AJ Allmendinger, as Keselowski fell to 10th at the end. Allmendinger passed third-place finisher Justin Allgaier in the final corner to secure the runner-up spot.
“That was all I had,” said Logano, who came to the green for the final restart with six-lap fresher tires than Keselowski. “He was definitely faster. I thought the tires would have been enough to be faster than him.
“I had a good restart and got in front of him, and he dogged me. These Xfinity cars draft quite a bit down these straightaways, and it’s hard to pull away. It felt good to race each other really hard, so it’s cool to see Penske cars doing that.”
The victory was Logano’s third in four races at WGI, his second in four starts this season and the 30th of his career, breaking a tie with Matt Kenseth for seventh on the all-time list.
Preece came home fourth, his fifth top 10 and fourth top five in six 2018 starts. Aric Almirola completed the top five.
Logano won the race’s first stage before a rainstorm forced a change to rain tires. Allmendinger showed his road racing superiority by pulling away to win the second stage before the sun came out and dried the track.
Allmendinger drew a one-lap penalty for sliding too far and pitting outside his stall during a fuel-only green-flag stop on Lap 52, but he fought back to finish second after two late cautions bunched the field.
“Just a dumb mistake on my part,” Allmendinger said. “I was coming in for fuel there, and it was still a little bit damp on pit road… I rolled in and slid a little more than I expected and got the nose over the line, and they’d already started to refuel.
“I just knew that, once we got the yellow, I was going to have to start roughing people up an driving up through there as hard as I could.”
Christopher Bell fell short in his attempt to match Sam Ard’s series record of four straight victories. Bell recovered from a pass-through penalty (for crewmen over the wall too soon on a Lap 16 stop) and finished ninth.
But Bell holds the series lead by 22 points over Cole Custer, who finished sixth on Saturday. Daniel Hemric (16th) is third, 23 points back, and fourth-place Elliott Sadler trials by 26 points.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – Zippo 200 at The Glen
Watkins Glen International
Watkins Glen, New York
Saturday, August 4, 2018
- (1) Joey Logano(i), Ford, 82.
- (4) AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, 82.
- (10) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 82.
- (8) Ryan Preece, Toyota, 82.
- (9) Aric Almirola(i), Ford, 82.
- (12) Cole Custer, Ford, 82.
- (20) Brandon Jones, Toyota, 82.
- (19) Ryan Reed, Ford, 82.
- (11) Christopher Bell #, Toyota, 82.
- (2) Brad Keselowski(i), Ford, 82.
- (27) Tyler Reddick #, Chevrolet, 82.
- (13) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 82.
- (14) Austin Cindric #, Ford, 82.
- (15) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 82.
- (17) Kaz Grala #, Ford, 82.
- (5) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 82.
- (25) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 82.
- (7) Ryan Truex, Chevrolet, 82.
- (21) Alex Labbe #, Chevrolet, 82.
- (23) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 82.
- (36) Brian Henderson, Chevrolet, 82.
- (37) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 82.
- (32) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 82.
- (39) Spencer Boyd #, Chevrolet, 81.
- (6) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 78.
- (28) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, Engine, 77.
- (3) Kyle Larson(i), Chevrolet, Engine, 77.
- (24) Mike Skeen, Chevrolet, 76.
- (35) Chad Finchum #, Toyota, 74.
- (22) Scott Heckert, Chevrolet, 73.
- (29) Victor Gonzalez Jr, Chevrolet, 70.
- (38) Josh Bilicki #, Toyota, 69.
- (34) David Starr, Chevrolet, Suspension, 49.
- (26) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, Brakes, 45.
- (40) Vinnie Miller #, Chevrolet, Accident, 32.
- (31) Timmy Hill, Dodge, Rear Gear, 27.
- (16) Matt Tifft, Chevrolet, Accident, 26.
- (18) Justin Haley(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 26.
- (33) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Brakes, 8.
- (30) Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, Accident, 3.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 81.685 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 27 Mins, 34 Secs. Margin of Victory: 3.362 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 7 for 20 laps.
Lead Changes: 13 among 7 drivers.
Lap Leaders: J. Logano(i) 1-22; B. Keselowski(i) 23-30; A. Allmendinger(i) 31-41; B. Keselowski(i) 42-44; R. Preece 45-46; B. Keselowski(i) 47-50; R. Preece 51-55; J. Logano(i) 56; A. Labbe # 57-60; J. Clements 61; T. Reddick # 62; B. Keselowski(i) 63-73; R. Preece 74; J. Logano(i) 75-82.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Logano(i) 3 times for 31 laps; B. Keselowski(i) 4 times for 26 laps; A. Allmendinger(i) 1 time for 11 laps; R. Preece 3 times for 8 laps; A. Labbe # 1 time for 4 laps; J. Clements 1 time for 1 lap; T. Reddick # 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 22,42,21,7,18,11,51,3,61,9
Stage #2 Top Ten: 23,7,42,20,21,22,12,4,16,18