FONTANA, Calif. – Joey Logano was in a league of his own during Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Roseanne 300 Saturday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway.
Logano led 139 of 150 laps on Saturday afternoon, overcoming a late-race pit stop that dropped him to 16th with less than 25 laps left.
The driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang started second and took the lead from polesitter Christopher Bell on the fifth lap. He didn’t give up the top spot again for more than 100 laps, dominating the first two stages with very little opposition.
Things changed with 46 laps left when Bell made contact with Michael Annett on the frontstretch, bringing out the caution flag and sending all of the leaders down pit road. Logano maintained the lead off pit road and stayed out front during the restart with 42 laps left, but a caution one lap later for Dylan Lupton’s expiring engine shuffled the deck.
Nearly all of the lead lap cars opted to come down pit road, leaving Logano stranded on the track with Brandon Jones, Ryan Sieg and Jeremy Clements. Justin Allgaier, the first driver to pit, restarted fifth with four fresh tires.
The race resumed with 36 laps remaining and Allgaier was up to second and chasing Logano within a lap, but the caution waved again with 30 laps left for debris on the track. Logano opted to come down pit road for tires during the caution period, giving up the lead for the first time since he took it on lap five.
Since most of the other lead lap cars opted not to pit, Logano lined up 16th for the restart with 26 laps remaining. While Elliott Sadler moved into the race lead for the first time during the restart, Logano was quickly marching to the front. He was ninth after one lap and was third two laps after the restart before taking the lead away from Sadler with 23 laps left.
Not even a caution and round of pit stops with 12 laps left could deter Logano. Sieg opted not to take tires during the caution period, which gave him the lead for the restart with eight laps left, but Logano made short work of him and he pulled away to a comfortable victory.
“That was a total team effort,” Logano said. “Great pit stops. Great car, oh my gosh, it was so good. This was one of those races that you feel relieved when you win. It wasn’t like a cheerful one. You’re supposed to win when you have a car that fast.”
Logano said it wasn’t his call not to pit during the caution period with 41 laps left, but he was thankful everything ended up working out.
“I didn’t opt to do that, Brian (Wilson, crew chief) opted to do that,” Logano said laughing. “That was not my thought at all. It ended up working out. I thought we were going to lose more track position then we did. We were able to stay out front with older tires, which I didn’t think we had a chance of doing. It just shows how fast our car was.”
Allgaier won a final lap duel with his JR Motorsports teammate Sadler to finish second, with Austin Dillon and Daniel Hemric completing the top-five. Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Matt Tifft, Ryan Preece and Ross Chastain rounded out the top-10 finishers.
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