JOLIET, Ill. – Joey Logano held off Sam Hornish Jr. to win a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, leading a sweep of the top two spots for Roger Penske after the owner asked him to drive the No. 22 car on a rare weekend off for the top-level Sprint Cup series.
“Really big for us to get a 1-2 finish for Penske. That’s awesome,” Logano said. “To come out here, our goal is to win this thing. That’s why I came out here on my off week, it was to come out here and win.”
Penske approached Logano this month during the NASCAR stop at Daytona in Florida and asked if he would drive in the first of two Nationwide races at Chicagoland this season.
“How do you say no to R.P.?” said Logano, smiling. “I’m glad I did it.”
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Logano, the lone Sprint Cup regular in the STP 300, earned his second Nationwide victory of the year and No. 20 for his career. He also won in Delaware in June. By holding on for second, Hornish moved into the top spot in the series standings, seven points better than Regan Smith.
Elliott Sadler had the lead on a restart with 24 laps remaining. But the defending race winner faded as Hornish moved in front on the track where he won consecutive IndyCar Series races in 2002 and 2003.
Hornish looked in position to secure the victory when Logano roared into the lead and went on to take the checkered flag.
“I’m glad it wasn’t three or four more laps longer, because he was catching us,” Logano said. “And it was getting to the point that I was going to have to move around to find some speed again. But just about the right amount of laps.”
Austin Dillon placed third and Sadler was fourth.
Sadler and Smith did not see much of each other one weekend after their collision at New Hampshire led to a midweek phone call to clear the air. Sadler confronted Smith right after that race, promising he would not win the series title.
There were no such problems at Chicagoland, with Sadler racing near the front and Smith struggling with the feel of his car all day long. Smith, who entered the race with a five-point lead over Hornish in the series standings, slid into the infield on Lap 129 and finished 13th.
• Defending Pro Stock champion Allen Johnson won the Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Morrison, Colo., for the fifth time.
Other category winners were Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car) and Shawn Gann (Pro Stock Motorcycle).