Throwback Thursday: Sliced Bread; Logano Becomes Youngest-Ever Winner on NNS Circuit

Kyle Magda Featured, Midwest, NASCAR 0 Comments

SPARTA, Ky. — Story by Race Chaser Online Associate Editor Kyle Magda — Andy Lyons/Getty Images photo —

A young Joey Logano broke into NASCAR’s top-three series with his Nationwide (now XFINITY) series debut on May 31 at the Dover International Speedway, less than a week after his 18th birthday.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver took over the No. 20 car for the rest of the 2008 season on the way to the team’s first owner’s title. All NASCAR careers have a start, and there’s no place else to begin at it than at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.

The track opened in 2000 and hosted its first-ever NASCAR race with a Craftsman (now Camping World) Truck Series event won by Greg Biffle. With more experienced drivers winning the first few races there, first-time winners have occurred at the Kentucky and probably none more prevalent than the upset David Gilliland pulled in the Busch (now XFINITY) Series there in 2006.

For Logano, the No. 20 team had already seen victory lane in 2008, including winning the season opener at Daytona with Tony Stewart in Nationwide’s first race as the entitlement series sponsor. Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin took turns scoring wins in the car before the 2007 NASCAR Busch (now K&N) East champ took over the ride.

Logano won back-to-back poles at Nashville and Kentucky and had teammate Kyle Busch also in the race as well. Jeremy Clements qualified Busch’s No. 18 Toyota in seventh and sent the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver to start at the rear of the Meijer 300.

Busch wasted no time in getting to the front, as it only took him 40 laps to grab the lead. Once the No. 18 Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota got out front, Logano was Busch’s lone competition for the victory.

Logano got by Busch a few laps after a lap 144 restart, but the No. 18 stayed right in the tire tracks of the No. 20 Toyota. Busch remained a few car lengths behind Logano for the next 20 laps. The Cup driver’s hopes went up in smoke when Busch lost control of his car and backed it into the Turn 2 wall, ending any chance of victory for the 23-year-old.

“I don’t know what happened,” Busch told ESPN about the incident. “I’ve been complaining of tight all night. We made some adjustments there and got it loose in the first couple laps, but then it started coming to [me] and I was tight there when I wrecked, so I don’t know what exactly happened.”

“I just lost it I guess and hit the wall.”

With the No. 18 out for the night, it was all Logano needed to pull away from Scott Wimmer and the field to capture his first-career series victory and bring the Kentucky faithful to their feet. The 18-year-old made it look easy as he performed a burn-out on the frontstretch, making it seem like he’s been doing it for years.

Logano led 76 of the 200 laps to break Casey Atwood’s record as the youngest winner in NNS at 18 years old and three weeks.

“Couldn’t ask for a better Father’s Day gift, that’s for sure.” Logano said. “I was wondering what I was going to get my dad. This will work plenty good I think. I didn’t think we had the car today. When we unloaded in practice, I said ‘Shoot, hope we can get a top-five out of this deal tonight.’

Got it going and got the pole and was too tight. Kyle got by us and then freed up and got back by Kyle and he got loose or something and hit the fence, but this team is amazing.”

Logano didn’t win another NNS race in 2008, but the JGR driver was announced as the full-time driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in the Cup Series in 2009 after Tony Stewart left to co-own a team with Gene Haas.

Busch ran every NNS event up until Kentucky before skipping the series’ next race at the Milwaukee Mile.

Open-wheel racer Bryan Clauson recorded his best-career finish in the Meijer 300 with a fifth-place showing in the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge. The Chip Ganassi Racing development driver hasn’t appeared in a NASCAR race since the 2008 NNS finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and finished second to Landon Cassill in the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year standings.

There have been four first-time NXS winners at Kentucky, with Ryan Blaney being the last in September 2013.

Friday night’s field features Cup regulars Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch in the same race for the first time since the 2015 season opener, but a surprise winner like David Gilliland, Stephen Leicht or Joey Logano can end up in victory lane after the Kentucky 300.

RESULTS: NASCAR Nationwide Series; Meijer 300 presented by Oreo; Kentucky Speedway; June 14, 2008

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Scott Wimmer
  3. Mike Wallace
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Bryan Clauson
  6. Marcos Ambrose
  7. David Ragan
  8. Mike Bliss
  9. Clint Bowyer
  10. Jason Keller
  11. Landon Cassill
  12. David Stremme
  13. David Reutimann
  14. James Buescher
  15. Brad Coleman
  16. Jason Leffler
  17. Steve Wallace
  18. Cale Gale
  19. Kelly Bires
  20. Carl Edwards
  21. Bobby Hamilton Jr.
  22. Mark Green
  23. Josh Wise
  24. Kevin Lepage
  25. Stanton Barrett
  26. D.J. Kennington
  27. Brad Teague
  28. Eric McClure
  29. Kenny Wallace
  30. Kyle Busch
  31. Derrike Cope
  32. Burney Lamar
  33. Andy Ponstein
  34. Kenny Hendrick
  35. Brian Keselowski
  36. Johnny Chapman
  37. Kertus Davis
  38. Justin Hobgood
  39. Chase Miller
  40. Dwayne Leik
  41. Larry Gunselman
  42. Danny Efland
  43. Morgan Shepherd

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *