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Joey Logano's victory extends team owner Joe Gibbs' streak at Fontana

Driver wins the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway, giving Gibbs a record eight consecutive victories at the track in NASCAR's Nationwide Series.

March 24, 2012|By Jim Peltz
  • Joey Logano went ahead on the final restart after a caution period with 12 laps left to win the 150-lap Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
Joey Logano went ahead on the final restart after a caution period with 12… (Jonathan Ferrey / Getty…)

Here's another sparkling entry in the storied career of Hall of Fame NFL coach Joe Gibbs: His NASCAR team's performance in Fontana.

Gibbs driver Joey Logano won the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, giving Gibbs a record eight consecutive wins at the two-mile oval in NASCAR's second-level Nationwide Series.

The streak "means a lot," said Gibbs, who also has a team in NASCAR's elite Sprint Cup Series that includes Logano. "These things are so hard to win. Southern California, we love coming here."

Logano pulled ahead on the final restart after a caution period with 12 laps left in the 150-lap race. Reigning Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished second, 2010 Nationwide title winner Brad Keselowski was third and Brian Scott was fourth.

Kyle Busch, who had won five of the last six Nationwide races in Fontana driving for Gibbs, nearly ended Gibbs' streak while driving a car for his Kyle Busch Motorsports.

But the crew had problems changing tires on Busch's Toyota during the final caution period and Busch lost several positions. He finished eighth.

Logano started on the pole and led a race-high 92 laps. But his win was not easy as he battled with Stenhouse, Keselowski, Busch and Elliott Sadler throughout the afternoon.

"It feels good to finally be back in Victory Lane," said Logano, who had gone 21 races since his last Nationwide win.

Sadler, a two-time winner this season, finished ninth but still leads the Nationwide standings by 18 points over Stenhouse.

Danica Patrick, making her 30th Nationwide start on the eve of her 30th birthday, fell out on Lap 64 when her Chevrolet lost an engine.

"I got some debris on the front grille" that punctured a leak in the radiator and damaged the engine, she said. "Just one of those bad-luck things. It's unfortunate."

Patrick was struggling before then. After starting 21st, she held her position but was losing nearly one second per lap to Logano and the other leaders through the first 35 laps.

She was running 23rd, one lap down, when the engine let go and she finished 35th. Patrick is 17th in the Nationwide standings.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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