MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Joey Logano’s perfect weekend continued on Saturday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, but it wasn’t without plenty of drama.
Logano passed Matt Crafton and Erik Jones on a green-white-checkered final restart to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ Kroger 250 from the pole. It’s the first Truck Series victory of Logano’s career, and it makes him part of a select group of drivers who have won in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series.
Oh, and he’s starting on the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup STP 500. Logano’s mind on Saturday evening, though, was entirely on the race he’d just won over Crafton.
Jones, Johnny Sauter and Reddick rounded out the top five behind Logano. Daniel Suarez was sixth, followed by James Buescher, John Wes Townley, Matt Tifft and Justin Boston.
It definitely wasn’t the easiest of Logano’s 32 national touring series wins. He led a race-high 150 laps, but as he battled with Crafton for the lead with less than 10 laps to go, a third challenger entered the fray.
Cole Custer – making his 10th career start in what was JR Motorsports’ CWTS debut – had qualified second to Logano and been in the top five in the closing stages. He made an opening when Crafton and Logano went two-wide in turns one and two, drove under both, made contact and escaped turn two with the lead.
Logano wasn’t happy with the move. Crafton chased Custer down two laps later and nudged him out of the lead. Custer spun along the frontstretch and wound up 16th. Crafton’s pass gave him the lead, but on the restart, Logano came from third to take Crafton and Jones three-wide.
From the inside line in turn one, he passed both drivers and pulled away to win.
“The old Cooper Standard Ford was a short-run (truck) if i’ve ever seen one,” Logano said. “It was good for a short run, and then it would just wear out. I was able to get a good restart and basically pull a similar move (as Custer) and clear (Crafton) and take the win.
“What a wonderful race. Typical Martinsville. It was so much fun. I just want to thank Brad and everyone at BKR. They’ve done a great job with these trucks.”
Crafton took his second-place finish in stride. The fact that it gave the two-time defending series champion a two-point lead over Tyler Reddick in the standings didn’t hurt, either.
“(Logano) timed it right, he laid back on the final restart and got a big run,” Crafton said. “All in all, not a bad day. It’s a shame not to win and get the clock. I felt I had a pretty good shot. I knew (Logano’s) shot was to get down in turn one, but he lagged back just enough to get a run on us.
“I thought I had a decent restart, but man. It was like he was shot out of a cannon.”