Sport Clips, a national sport-themed hair-care franchise for men and boys founded in 1993 with nearly 1,000 stores nationwide, will make its final appearance of 2012 with the Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide Series program on Saturday afternoon with Joey Logano and the No. 18 Toyota. Sport Clips, who has a rich history with Joe Gibbs Racing, has sponsored Logano’s JGR teammate Denny Hamlin in five Nationwide Series races this season – Texas, Darlington, Charlotte, Indianapolis and Richmond. In those three races, Hamlin has brought home finishes of fourth, second, second, fourth and fourth respectively. In Logano’s one other Sport Clips race this season, he brought the No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota home to a fifth-place finish at Daytona in the summer event at the track. Sport Clips also sponsored Hamlin in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Darlington, where he finished second, and Atlanta, where he picked up his fourth Sprint Cup win of the season. Sport Clips also sponsored up-and-coming JGR driver Drew Herring at Kentucky Speedway last weekend, where Herring finished fourth.
TRYING TO EXTEND THE POINT LEAD: With 27 of 33 races on the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule complete, the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 team remains in the lead in the Owner’s Championship point standings. The team has a 13-point lead on the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing team and a 17-point lead on Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 team. So far this season, the No. 18 team has earned five wins (all coming with Logano behind the wheel), five runner-up finishes, 16 top-five finishes, 22 top-10 finishes and four pole awards. Joe Gibbs Racing has claimed three NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Championships in the last four seasons, with the No. 20 team winning in 2008 and the No. 18 team winning the title in 2009 and 2010.
ANOTHER POLE, NEARLY ANOTHER WIN: Logano didn’t take part in last weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Kentucky Speedway. But the last time he was in a Nationwide Series car, two weeks ago at Chicagoland Speedway, Logano earned his fourth pole of the season, led the most laps and looked to be well on his way to his seventh victory of the year before a shock went bad and Logano had to settle for a ninth-place finish. The pole was Logano’s 20th-career Nationwide Series pole which moved him into the top-10 on the all-time pole winners list. Logano’s 20-career fast times puts him ninth on the all-time list and just 10 away from Mark Martin’s all-time best of 30 Nationwide Series poles.
SEASON STATS STILL TELL THE STORY: With six wins in his 16 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts this year, Logano still has one of the most impressive stat lines of anyone in the series this year. Those six wins have come in just 16 starts, giving Logano an impressive nearly 40-percent winning percentage. In addition to his six wins and four poles, Logano has grabbed eight top-fives and 12 top-10 finishes. Even more impressive have been the variety of tracks that Logano has won at, including the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway, mile-long Dover International Speedway and Darlington Speedway, two-mile Michigan and Auto Club (California) and 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway.
ALREADY A SPORT CLIPS WINNER… SORTA: While this will be the first Sport Clips sponsored race this season for Logano, should he get to Victory Lane, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s visited Victory Lane with Sport Clips in 2012. Logano captured the victory earlier this season in the VFW Sport Clips 200 at Darlington Raceway. While Logano was driving a car sponsored by Dollar General, Logano was able to celebrate in Victory Lane with several Sport Clips execs by taking the victory.
REPEAT AT DOVER?: Logano will come into this weekend’s Nationwide Series race as the defending race winner, when he took the checkers at the track earlier this season. Early in the race, Logano jumped out to a position he would become familiar with during the afternoon – the lead. Logano lost the lead finally when crew chief Adam Stevens called him to the pits with less than 50 laps to go for four tires and fuel. Logano was the only front-runner to pit and fell back to seventh before the restart on lap 158. Over the final 15 laps, Logano cut into a near three-second lead and finally caught and passed JGR teammate Ryan Truex for the lead with just five laps to go. Logano then pulled away and went on to grab the victory. Logano led a race-high 154 of the 200 laps.
THE RACE: The OneMain Financial 200 at Dover International Speedway (Dover, DE; 1-mile oval) is set for Saturday, September 29. Watch and listen live on ESPN, Sirius XM Channel 90 and MRN Radio starting at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Joey Logano Quotes: “It feels good to finally be heading back to Dover with a win under our belt and as the defending race winner at the track. But we are not going to rest on that. Guys like Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.), Austin (Dillon) and Elliot (Sadler) are fast and if we think that we are the car to beat, they are going to beat us. We need to go out there and act like we are just doing our thing and try to do what we did back in the summer. We had a great car that day and led a ton of laps. We came into the pits late, but thankfully we had a rocketship and I was able to make it back up to the lead by the end. It was huge to be able to get my first win at Dover. I felt like I’ve been close there before, so to finally get one was huge.
“We’ve had a good season so far, but we have six more races to go to try and pick up a couple more wins. Right now, Adam and myself are working about as well as we can together. In my mind, Adam is the best crew chief in the garage over here and this team is the best as well. I think they have shown that, not only with our six wins but with as strong as they have run with other drivers. Just last weekend they were able to help Drew (Herring) get a top-five finish in his first and only start of the year. That is a testament to how good this team is right now. Hopefully, we can go out there and continue doing what we are doing and maybe get win number seven.”
Crew chief Adam Stevens Quotes: “Dover is my favorite track on the schedule because it is one of a kind. Joey is just exceptional at the track and it showed when we were able to win the race earlier this year. That was one of my favorite wins of the year because we had a dominate car all day long. The best cars at Dover are on edge all race long, which takes an unusual amount of focus and stamina from the driver. The track awards aggression but will punish you if you make a mistake. We are in the middle of a pretty intense points battle as well. Every single position is big for our car. But I’ve already told Joey the best thing we can do is to go back out there and do what we did in July and the points will take care of themselves. The setup always seems to change a bit in the fall race, but we are taking the same care and hoping we can get the same results.”