Logano Wins Ninth But Sadler's Title Hopes Dealt Crushing Blow
Joey Logano locked up his ninth Nationwide Series win at Phoenix International Raceway by leading a total of 168 laps. Logano started from the pole and dominated the race, but had to pass Brian Vickers to get the win. He took the lead from Vickers with six laps to go and held off challengers during a green-white-checkered restart.
But the race was important because of the impact it had on the championship battle.
Elliott Sadler led the points standings for most of this season and entered today's race tied atop the standings with last year's champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Sadler heads to the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway now 20 points behind Stenhouse.
Sadler's entire weekend was a challenge. The team struggled to find the right setup for the car in practice yesterday. He smacked the wall in qualifying today and had to go to the back-up car. As a result he had to start the race at the rear of the field. He made his way up to the top-15 but the team again struggled to get the car to handle the way Sadler wanted it to. With five laps to go Sadler drove into turn three a bit too deep and tagged the rear bumper of Cole Whitt. They both spun around and backed into the wall hard. Sadler was then smashed by his teammate Brendan Gaughan. Sadler finished 20th.
Stenhouse meanwhile ran up front most of the race and finished in third. All Stenhouse needs to do to win his second straight championship is finish 16th or better next week at Homestead. He can also finish 17th if he leads a lap and 18th if he leads the most laps.