Joey Logano scored a decisive victory against his teammate Kyle Busch in the Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.
The race unfolded as a two-man battle between Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, with both taking turns at the front of the field. However, in the end the younger Logano was able to remain in control, fending off a late charge from Busch, who couldn't make a grip advantage work in his favor.
Carl Edwards started the race from pole but lost the lead on lap 18 to Logano, who remained up front until the first round of stops. He looked unchallenged during the following stint and led the field into the pits when the first caution waved. However Busch's crew was faster in the pits, putting his driver up front for the following restart.
When the green flag waved, Vickers passed Logano and went in hot pursuit of Busch, while the teenager had his hands full trying to fend off Kevin Harvick and Edwards. He eventually succeeded, and then started to close the gap on his the leaders, although he wouldn't get near enough to challenge Busch.
Following the final round of stops the situation didn't change much at the front and the lack of caution periods seemed to freeze the race for a while. However on his final set of tires, Logano rapidly closed the gap to Busch and, on lap 175, he took the lead of the race and opened up a safe gap.
That was until 10 laps later, when the caution came out for only the second time during the day due to debris on the track. Logano chose to stay out on the track leading, while Busch went for two new tires as did Vickers and Biffle. Both Edwards and Harvick took on a full new set for the final 10-lap sprint.
On the restart Logano was able to stay ahead, while Busch came from third to second, putting the pressure on his young teammate. But as tire temperatures went up, Busch struggled to stay with Logano while Vickers started to look bigger in his mirrors, leaving the 19-year-old to beat him in a head-to-head battle for the third time this year.
"We though we got beat there at the end," Logano said. "Everyone pitted but us and [Jason Leffler]. We were thinking we would need to try to come home with a second [place] at least. But the clean air was big. This is the same car we won Kentucky with, so this thing is that good. It's awesome we're racing with these guys."
"If you look at my victories it's always been a one-two finish between me and Kyle, so that's pretty neat. That's awesome for Joe Gibbs Racing."
Busch as usual was disappointed with being second, especially to his team-mate. However, for the sixth week in a row he has finished the race in the top two spots, further increasing his gap in the championship, where Logano is not a factor as he is only running a limited schedule.
"About two laps after the restart if I could have got onto his outside I might have had him," Busch said. "But just could never make the move on him. His car was really strong tonight, ours wasn't and it just wasn't the best car. Joey had that by far and it's unfortunate we had to settle for second tonight. It wasn't meant to be... Great points night."
Vickers finished a strong third, while Leffler, who stayed out with Logano on the final caution, completed a sweep of the top four places by Toyota drivers, a first in the history of the Nationwide Series. Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five ahead of the Roush duo of Edwards and Biffle.
Brad Keselowski continued to lose ground in the championship battle, finishing only 12th following a delayed first pitstop after he ran out of fuel. It took a while before he was able to restart his car and he lost a lap in the process. Later on, right after Busch lapped him again, he nearly wrecked him out of the race after hitting him from behind on the tri-oval.
Busch is now 192 points ahead of Edwards in the standings, while Keselowski is already 334 points behind in third.RESULTS:
Pos Driver Make Laps
1. Joey Logano Toyota 200
2. Kyle Busch Toyota 200
3. Brian Vickers Toyota 200
4. Jason Leffler Toyota 200
5. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 200
6. Carl Edwards Ford 200
7. Greg Biffle Ford 200
8. David Reutimann Toyota 200
9. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 200
10. Justin Allgaier Dodge 200
11. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 200
12. Trevor Bayne Toyota 199
13. Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 199
14. Paul Menard Ford 198
15. Scott Wimmer Chevrolet 198
16. Steve Wallace Chevrolet 198
17. Michael Annett Toyota 198
18. Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 197
19. Jason Keller Ford 197
20. Scott Lagasse Jr Toyota 197
21. John Wes Townley Ford 197
22. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 197
23. Tony Raines Chevrolet 196
24. Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 196
25. Michael McDowell Dodge 196
26. Shelby Howard Chevrolet 196
27. Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 196
28. Robert Richardson Jr Chevrolet 195
29. Danny O'Quinn Jr Chevrolet 194
30. Dennis Setzer Dodge 194
31. Eric McClure Ford 194
32. Matt Carter Ford 189
33. Mike Harmon Chevrolet 185
34. David Ragan Ford 107
35. Jeremy Clements Chevrolet 92
36. Derrike Cope Dodge 24
37. Casey Atwood Ford 19
38. Mike Wallace Chevrolet 19
39. Kevin Lepage Dodge 15
40. Kelly Bires Toyota 8
41. Terry Cook Chevrolet 6
42. Kertus Davis Chevrolet 2
43. Mark Green Chevrolet 1