When the NASCAR Nationwide Series last visited Bristol Motor Speedway back in June, it was Elliott Sadler who found himself in Victory Lane. But if you ask Joey Logano, it probably should have been the No. 18 Toyota that should have been doing celebratory donuts. Logano won the pole, led the first 67 laps, got a great pit stop from his team and led another 52 laps before eventually falling behind due to a bad set of tires.
Late in the race, Logano came in and got four fresh Goodyears and proved once again to be the fastest car on the track. Unfortunately, by the time he was able to race his way back up through the field, the checkers waved and Logano had to settle for a fourth-place finish after leading 119 total laps.
LOGANO TIED FOR LEAD IN NASCAR WINS: While it’s been a couple of months since Joey Logano last visited Victory Lane, if you look at the stats, Logano is tied for the lead in one big category… total NASCAR wins. Amongst the top-three NASCAR series, Logano and Brad Keselowski each have scored six victories this season in NASCAR’s top-three National Series (Cup, Nationwide and Trucks). Logano has earned five Nationwide Series victories (the best among all drivers) and one Sprint Cup Series win (coming in June at Pocono) while Keselowski has also earned six National Series wins (3 in Cup, 3 in Nationwide).
TIME TO GET THE 18 CAR BACK TO A CHAMPIONSHIP: With Michael McDowell’s sixth-place finish last weekend in Montreal behind the wheel of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, the 18 team still holds a six-point lead in the race for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship. The team is six points up on the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing ride of Sadler and is 28 points ahead of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing ride of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Logano has been strong all year when he is behind the wheel of the No. 18. In fact, four of his five Nationwide Series victories this season have come while driving the No. 18 with crew chief Adam Stevens on the box. During his impressive streak of wins earlier this season, Logano had increased the No. 18’s lead in the point standings to nearly 70 points. Denny Hamlin, Ryan Truex, Mark Martin and McDowell have all also spent time behind the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota this season.
CAN HE GET ANY CLOSER TO A BRISTOL WIN?: It wasn’t just his near win at Bristol in March that eluded Logano. The 22-year-old has been close several times to victory at the famed half-mile oval. Most famous was last year’s night race at the track in which Logano and JGR teammate Kyle Busch battled side-by-side for the final five laps and came across the stripe in a photo finish with Logano finishing just 0.019-seconds behind Busch. Logano has found himself with great cars and leading laps several other times before getting involved in late-race cautions that kept him from winning. Logano and the Dollar General team will take the same car to Bristol that they ran with in March.
18 MIGHT BE LOGANO’S MAGIC NUMBER: While over the years, Joey Logano has become synonymous with the No. 20 on the side of his racecar, this year it’s been the No. 18 that Logano has found the most success with. Of his five NASCAR Nationwide Series victories, four of them have come when Logano has piloted the famous Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota, a two-time Nationwide Series owner’s championship team. Logano won with the No. 18 at California, Dover, Talladega and Michigan, which driving his normal No. 20 Toyota to Victory Lane at Darlington. Logano has also found Victory Lane driving the No. 18 in two different NASCAR K&N Pro Series West events during his career.
THIS WEEK ON THE NO. 18 DOLLAR GENERAL TOYOTA: Dollar General vendor partners Powerade, Gillette Venus, Reach, Arrid, Frosted Flakes, Glad, First Quality, Tums, Angel Soft, Sundown and Eckrich will be featured on Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota Camry this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.
THE RACE: The Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway (Bristol, TN; .533-mile oval) is set for Friday, August 24th. Watch and listen live on ESPN, Sirius XM Channel 90 and PRN Radio starting at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Joey Logano Quotes: “Time to finally get ourselves one of these wins at Bristol. I feel like we’ve been so close, especially in the last couple of races at the track, that it’s time for us to finally get a trophy from Bristol. I’ve had the chance to win some races at a lot of tracks this year that I’ve always wanted to win at and Bristol is one that I’d like to add to that list. To be able to win at Darlington, Talladega, Dover and Bristol all in the same year would be pretty cool. We were so close last year when we just lost out to Kyle. And then again, earlier this year when we had the best car there but just got out of sequence. This time, we are focused on putting it all together and coming out of here with a nice trophy.”
Crew chief Adam Stevens Quotes: “We’ve been close at Bristol. We just haven’t been able to close the deal. The track is a little different this time around with the recent grinding project. All indications are that this is going to eliminate the top groove. The NNS series is on the same tire combination as the first race this year while the CUP cars are on a new RS tire. It will be interesting to see how the CUP rubber effects the race track. We practice in the morning on a green track and race at night after CUP practice as well. All this will make for very different track conditions in the race compared to practice. The race is short as well so you typically only have one or two pit stops to make your car better. In my opinion this is one of Joey’s best tracks. I really look forward racing there.”