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Fear not a factor for Joey Lagano

Just six days after a horrific crash at Dover during the AAA 400, the youngster bounced back to beat Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch in the Nationwide Series race last Saturday at Kansas Speedway.

If you saw the wreck in which Logano barrel-rolled his Toyota eight times, it was a truly scary moment. The good news was that the youngster emerged from his battered racecar a bit shaken up, but other than that, no worse for wear. For once, a driver faced the microphones after a serious crash and admitted it scared the heck out of him. Bad move. Like Logano was the first driver scared after a crash. But the code of the road seems to be that you thank God, your sponsors and NASCAR for building such safe cars and act like it was just another day at the office.
Not young Joey. He simply looked into the camera and told the truth: “It scared the heck out of me.” Since that post crash interview, the talking heads, racing columnists and bloggers have been having a field day with their dime store analysis on whether the crash would derail his brief but promising career. After all, real racers don’t get scared. Phooey.
Six days after the Dover crash Joey Logano won an exciting wheel-to-wheel duel with Kyle Busch to capture the Kansas Lottery 300 Nationwide Race. With three laps left, the 19-year-old Logano surged past teammate Kyle Busch to the outside as their Toyotas raced wheel-to-wheel toward the finish line. Logano pulled away to win the race by .574 seconds.
Busch, who led 173 of 200 laps, made a bit of NASCAR history by breaking Sam Ard’s record for laps led in a Busch/Nationwide Series season, finished second to Logano for the fourth time this season on the Nationwide Circuit. Asheboro North Carolina’s Sam Ard set the record by leading 2,127 laps back in 1984.
“The good thing about this win is it should shut everyone up about, ‘Am I going to be ready, am I going to not be as good because I rolled over like that?’” Logano said. “Hopefully this will put things to rest. I have no fear. If you can barrel-roll a car like that and come out OK, that’s going to give you all the confidence to drive harder.
“That’s all I’ve got, dig as hard as I can every lap for everything I’m worth. After I got by Keselowski, then we had another restart, and I’m like, I’ve got a shot at it. I felt like I was pretty good for the long green flag run before the restart. Then there was another restart, and I felt like I was gaining on Kyle.
“I knew I had to go to the high side to pass. My car was just too aero-tight when I got behind other cars. So I had to pretty much go where no one was for me to go fast. I got out there and had a big run and got outside of him and kept digging. It was a blast.”
“Unfortunately, I got beat,” Busch said. “The kid out-drove me. That’s what you’ll have sometimes. Unfortunately I couldn’t drive it hard enough to get a win out of it.”
On the Sprint Cup Circuit this year’s Chase has developed into a battle of the ages. On one side you have a 50-year-old, old school veteran from the southeast who is a four-time series runner up. On the other side you have the California kid, 34-year-old Jimmie Johnson, going for an unprecedented four straight Sprint Cup Championships.
Johnson’s win at Dover looked remarkably like the late season form he has displayed in his three previous championship seasons. Martin ran a strong second to Johnson at Dover. Following Sunday’s race at Kansas City, Martin leads Johnson by a razor thin 18-point advantage.
Jimmie Johnson’s career success is directly related to how well he has performed during the Chase over the last three years. Since the first Chase in 2004, Johnson has posted a series-leading 15 Chase race wins.

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