With drivers on two different agendas at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, Penske Racing claimed a one-two finish in the STP 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race for car owner Roger Penske. Joey Logano took the race win and moved the No. 22 car closer to the leading No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing entry in the series owner points. Meanwhile, teammate Sam Hornish Jr. finished second and took the points lead in the driver standings from previous leader Regan Smith.
“I don’t know if it was the car to beat,” Logano said of his No. 22. “At the beginning, it was a third or fourth-place car, but (crew chief) Jeremy (Bullins) made the right adjustments throughout the race to make the car better.”
Logano took the lead for good on a restart that followed the sixth and final caution of the race with 23 laps to go. He and Hornish restarted the race first and second, with Hornish in the lead spot, but Hornish lost that lead to Logano when the race went back to green.
Logano led laps at one point earlier in the race after taking two tires during a caution with about 71 laps to go. Kyle Larson restarted in the lead by staying out, but Logano quickly got to the front with his two new tires. Hit time up front wash short-lived, though, as he was passed for the lead by Elliott Sadler with 55 laps to go.
Hornish, Sadler and Austin Dillon combined to lead most of the race. Hornish started on the pole and led the first 49 laps before he was beat off pit road under caution by Sadler and then was moved farther back in the running order because of a pit road speeding penalty.
Sadler then led until just past the halfway point of the race when Dillon wound up ahead of him after a cycle of green-flag pit stops. Sadler spent a few extra seconds on pit road while his team took extra time getting his car full of fuel.
By that time, Hornish was already back inside the top-five. After Logano’s first stint up front several laps later, Sadler returned to the lead, with Hornish in second. Hornish took the lead from Sadler on a restart with under 40 laps to go and remained up front until Logano took the lead for good on the final restart.
Dillon also got by Sadler in the closing laps to finish third. With his third-place finish, Dillon was the highest-finishing among the four eligible Dash 4 Cash drivers and claimed his second-straight $100,000 bonus.
“That’s awesome,” Dillon said. “I’m really proud of these guys. I think we were just one adjustment away from the win today.”
He also made himself eligible to race for the final Dash 4 Cash bonus of the season next weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For that $100,000, he’ll be competing against Hornish, Sadler and Brian Vickers, the other three highest-finishing Nationwide Series championship-eligible drivers.
Sadler finished fourth and Chicagoland, and Vickers rounded out the top-five after a few slow pit stops with a backup pit-crew. Finishing the race sixth through 10th were Parker Kligerman, Trevor Bayne, Justin Allgaier, Brad Sweet and Matt Crafton.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR