Usually, “it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish” is applicable in racing. But on Saturday afternoon, where you started is exactly where you finished if your name is Joey Logano.
The Middletown, Conn. native won the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on Saturday afternoon (Aug. 4) from the pole after leading a race-high 31 laps in his No. 22 Snap-On Team Penske Ford. The win was his second XFINITY win of the season, third at WGI, 30th of his career and 50th national series victory overall.
The race-winning pass came with eight laps to go on a restart, as Logano made it three-wide entreating turn one, made it stick and never looked back.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) August 4, 2018
“When it comes down to the end of it, it seems like it’s the two of us battling it out,” Logano said following the win. “I was working as hard as I could there. It was a fun battle, these XFINITY cars have a really great package around this race track for us to race because there’s just enough draft to keep the leader from pulling away.”
Logano’s teammate, Brad Keselowski, was running down the No. 22 in the closing laps, until he wheel hopped entering turn one with three laps to go, spun out and was unable to recover and challenge for the win.
He drives in too deep and loses it going into Turn 1! pic.twitter.com/WFx1yj0Wj2
— NASCAR Xfinity (@NASCAR_Xfinity) August 4, 2018
“We both overdrove that corner because that was the closest he was in a few laps,” Logano said of the failed attempt by his teammate. “I knew he was thinking that’d be his chance. So I knew I had to drive it in pretty hard unless he was going to get to the inside of me. We were just running so hard, it’s a real testament to the cars and the motors, we’re sliding these things around doing everything we can do to beat each other. We knew we were going to have a fun, clean race. You know that when you’re racing your teammate.”
Fellow Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular and road course ace AJ Allmendinger came home second in his first start in five seasons in the XFINITY Series. He led 11 laps in the No. 23 Chevrolet for GMS Racing and was forced to come from the back to the front after pitting outside the box on lap 52.
— GMS Racing (@GMSRacingLLC) August 4, 2018
“Just a dumb mistake on my part,” Allmendinger admitted post-race. “We were just coming in for fuel there, it was still a little bit damp on pit road and I was trying to come in easy. It’s hard, there’s so much rubber on the pit lines. I rolled in and I must’ve just touched a damp spot, slid a little more than I expected and got the nose over the line and they had already started to re-fuel. Got lucky on the yellow there and I just knew that once we got the yellow I was just going to start roughing some people up and driving through there.”
Justin Allgaier led the way for XFINITY regulars and JR Motorsports, coming home third, one-upping his fourth-place finish in 2017. The result was his 10th top five, 15th top 10 of the season and eighth top 10 in a row for the driver of the No. 7 Chevrolet.
“I felt like today was aggressive, but I felt like the race was a lot cleaner than what we see sometimes in these road courses in the XFINITY Series,” Allgaier said. “Guys were pushing the issue, but you didn’t see a whole lot of guys moving each other out of the way.”
The race had some excitement build towards the middle of stage 2, as a rain shower made it’s way into the Watkins Glen area. Under caution, NASCAR opted to bring the field down pit road, and everybody switched from slicks to rain tires.
As expected, the results were pretty unique.
Rooster tails all around, Kyle Larson spinning out entering pit road on slicks and the first time an XFINITY race ran in the rain since Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2016.
Speaking of Mid-Ohio, next up for the NASCAR XFINITY Series is a trip to the midwest road course next weekend. Sam Hornish Jr. is the defending winner of the event.
Christopher Bell retains the championship points lead by 22 over Custer, with Elliott Sadler third.