Joey Logano Wins Great Clips 200

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Joey Logano sprinted away on a green-white-checkered overtime restart to win the Great Clips 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday afternoon.  It was his ninth series victory of the 2012 season.

In his quest to deliver the owner's points championship to Joe Gibbs Racing, Logano led 168 of 200 laps and was especially tough defending the top spot on restarts, something he had to do eight times on the atypically cool, cloudy afternoon.

The Gibbs no. 18 team built a 33-point lead over Roush Racing in owner's points with a single event in south Florida remaining next Saturday.  "We have momentum going into Homestead," admitted Logano, who will join the rival team owned by Jack Roush next season.  "It is bittersweet (to leave the Gibbs team)," he said.  "It's going to be tough to race against them next year."

Finding victory lane was in no way easy for Logano.  With five laps to go, a restart put Kyle Busch in a position to battle Logano for the lead, and the two raced side-by-side until a caution flag just before the white flag flew.  It kept Logano in front.

Roush's Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., finished third behind Logano and Brian Vickers and extended his series driver's points lead to a 20-point edge going to Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Afterward Stenhouse said, "At times we felt we had a car that could win, but it was a great points day."

Stenhouse began the day in a championship tie with Elliott Sadler.  Sadler, in an effort to retain contact with Stenhouse in the title run, found himself scored in practically every position in the field.  Sadler had scraped the turn 3 wall in morning qualifying and had to go to a back-up vehicle.  That sent him to the back of the field for the opening green flag, but he fought his way up to as high as fourth near the halfway mark.

But, with only two laps to go, Sadler, in a tightly-packed group of cars, had to back off to avoid rear-ending Justin Allgaier and slid high to collect Cole Whitt.  Significant damage relegated Sadler to a 22nd place finish.  It became the second straight season that problems at P.I.R. all but ended his title hopes.

Valley of the Sun residence Danica Patrick acquitted herself well, racing in tight traffic most of the day, making her way into the top 10 before finishing 10th in her GoDaddy.com Chevrolet.

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