A pair of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers stole the show in the K&N Pro Series West race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma on Saturday.
Joey Logano celebrates his victory in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West at Infineon Raceway
Joey Logano, who drives for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Cup series, won the Thunder Valley Casino Resort 200. David Gilliand, a driver for Front Row Motorsports in Cup, was second.
Joey Logano won the Thunder Valley Casino Resort 200 at Infineon Raceway
"Racing against David there at the end was a lot of fun," Logano said. "We had the car to do it for sure. We did everything we were supposed to do."
Logano, the 2009 K&N Pro Series East champion, won the second West Series race of his career. He won in his West Series debut at Phoenix International Raceway in 2007.
Logano said working with Max Papis and Cup series teammate Kyle Busch helped him win the West Series race at the road course at Infineon Raceway.
"We built a two-seater car. Me, Kyle and Max went to Road Atlanta together and basically just played around in the thing," Logano said. "(Papis) ran a few laps, I'd ride with him, ride with everybody, see what everybody's doing and try to learn from each other."
One of the things Logano learned was how to navigate his car around the track.
"Biggest thing was braking. At the beginning of this race, I got used to braking with my Cup car," Logano said. "Where my marks were with that is quite a bit backed up compared to where these are. These cars are lighter and got less motor, not going as fast. It took a few laps to get back to where I was when we were practicing here the other day. Everyone did good today and Max definitely helped out a lot."
Pit strategy played a big role in Logano's win as well. Logano took four tires on his second pit stop when several drivers, including Gilliland, decided to take only fuel. Logano had to race his way through the field, banging and bumping his way back to the front.
"The part that I was worried about was when I knocked my fenders in," Logano said. "I felt like I was quite a bit slower. I definitely wasn't wide open in the spots that I was before. In the high speed stuff, I was a little nervous about it."
Logano caught and passed Gilliland for the lead on lap 56 of the 64-lap race. Logano held the lead for the remainder of the race, including a two-lap dash to the finish after a caution.
"We had a good day. It's a long race," Gilliland said. "You know there's going to be a lot of cautions out here. Basically there wasn't a scratch on our car. We just tried to keep the fenders on it. Our plan was to go the whole distance on tires and just stop for fuel and that's what we did. I had a good lead and there were some cautions there at the end."
Logano startred on the front row with pole winner Brandon Davis and led a race-high 28 laps. He was out front for the first 19 laps before giving way Gilliland. Jim Inglebright, Todd Souza and Paulie Harraka took turns leading the race during pit stops. When the drivers filtered through pit road, Gilliland had the lead and held it for 22 laps.
"My car actually needed about three laps to really get going, for the tire pressures to come up," said Gilliland, who won the K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma in 2009. "Just came up a little bit short. Joey came in and got tires. That was an advantage there at the end. I love the West Series. It was a lot of fun.
Eric Holmes was third and was the highest-finishing driver who races regularly on the K&N Pro Series West.
"We lost a few spots at the beginning of the race. Used our pit strategy and got some of them back," Holmes said. "The 17 car (David Mayhew) got into me. The 17 got into me and hooked my car. We lost like eight, 10 spots there and we had to work our way back up. The last lap was a little more exciting than I wanted it to be. I got bounced around enough. That was good enough for me today."
Holmes moved up to third place in the K&N Pro Series West standings, but is still 258 points behind Greg Pursley, the West Series leader.
"Not enough. We've just had a rough year," said Holmes, a driver for Bill McAnally Racing. "Good to finally just get a good finish. We came here to win and hoping Pursley would have a bad day. That would have been good for us. Didn't come out with a win, but behind Logano and Gilliland here, that was the best as far as the series regulars."
Pursley was fourth, followed by Brian Wong in fifth. Pursley padded his lead in the West Series standings to 215 points over Moses Smith, who finished seventh at Infineon Raceway.
The Thunder Valley Casino Resort 200 will be broadcast on Speed at July 14 at 6 p.m. ET.
The next K&N Pro Series West race is at Toyota Speedway at Irwndale on Saturday.
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