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Joey Logano has heard all the nicknames.
The wonder kid.
The real deal.
Now he can add the distinction of being the youngest driver to win a Nationwide Series race to his name, as Logano, at age 18 years and 21 days, drove to victory lane in front of the largest crowd to ever see a race at Kentucky Speedway on June 14 during the Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo.
The announced crowd of 73,195 fans watched Logano not only earn the pole with a speed of 175.388 mph, but also lead the final 54 laps in just his third start on the Nationwide Series. In all, Logano led five times for 76 laps and held off Scott Wimmer and Mike Wallace down the stretch. He became the second pole winner to win the race.
"It is definitely awesome. It's cool to get our first win in our third start. To get out here and get our second pole and first win, we can get rolling," a smiling Logano said after the race.
The victory may have surprised Logano a bit, who said that his car was "tight" coming off the truck.
"We didn't unload the car we wanted to. The guys never gave up and changed everything. I didn't know what I would have going into the first green flag lap. That last pit stop we got it about right. Overall, the GameStop Toyota was pretty good," Logano said.
Loganos crew chief David Rogers said his driver was correct in his assessment.
"The guys changed everything but the door number and the name above the door. We kept working on it and the driver wheeled it to the front. I'm proud of this one," Rogers said.
In his first race at Dover on May 31, one week after his 18th birthday, Logano finished sixth. One week later, he captured the pole at Nashville and led the race for 64 laps before spinning out en route to a 31st-place finish.
"Three starts, two poles, one win," Rogers said with a grin. "He's OK.
"I can promise you I'll be in a good mood all this week," Logano said.
Wallace, who finished third, also thinks Logano's going to be OK.
"Let's face it, NASCAR built a commercial around the kid. We expected him to win. I've watched three commercials today about Joey Logano, so it wasnt a surprise. He's a great, young race car driver, and he's in a great race car," Wallace said.
With the victory under his belt, Logano says the pressure of expectations is nothing new for him, saying he has been under a microscope since he was 14 years old.
It's something that I've kind of gotten used to. I'm used to that pressure. I'd feel weird if it wasn't like that," Logano said.
While Logano was dominant late in the race, it was the car of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch that was dominant early.
Starting from the rear of the field due to switching drivers prior to the race, Busch, who arrived moments before the green flag dropped via helicopter from Michigan International Speedway, sliced through the field to gain the lead by Lap 40. Busch led a race-high 85 laps.
Following a debris caution, Logano drove past Busch on the restart of Lap 144, opening up a lead of more than a half-second.
Eighteen laps later, Logano breathed a sigh of relief when Busch spun out and crashed in Turn 2 with 36 laps to go.
"It was pretty devastating, pretty frustrating. All these guys hate it, and I hate it for them. It was tough luck, I guess. I think we had a car that was capable of winning. I was behind Joey, seeing if we could pass him late, but I just lost it," said Busch, who ended up 30th.
Logano said Busch's accident was "unfortunate."
"It was unfortunate to see Kyle hit the fence, but our car was strong enough we might have been able to hold him off. Over the last 20 laps, I was just praying it would stay green," Logano said.
Late in the race, Wimmer made a run at Logano. The second place finish was a season-best for Wimmer and marked his fourth top five finish in five Kentucky starts.