Another Zippo 200 for the NASCAR XFINITY Series is in the books, and in traditional form, this afternoon’s edition was nothing less than exciting. When the dust settled, it was Joey Logano overcoming adversity and taking the checkered flag here at Watkins Glen International.
Starting from the pole, Logano quickly jumped out to an early lead ahead of the likes of teammate Brad Keselowski, defending NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson running double duty this weekend, and Chris Buescher.
It only took 23 laps for the fireworks to start when the No. 12 Snap-on Ford hit pit road from the lead. What looked to be a solid pit stop for Logano ended in disaster when the gas can was left in the car as he exited his pit box. The gas can came to rest in the middle of pit road, resulting in the second caution of the day. The mistake gave him a trip to the rear of the field for the restart on lap 26.
Over the next 20 laps, Logano would pick his way through the field from 29th, making his way to the bumper of the race leader and his teammate, Brad Keselowski, by lap 28. The No. 12 would take the lead on the next lap, and never turned back. He was able to weather the storm of two late-race restarts and win the 2015 edition of the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International.
Logano talked about Penske’s domination at The Glen and his trip from the front, to the back, and to the front again in Victory Lane, stating, “It’s fun to have a car that is that fast. When you’re out there racing your teammate for the win, it shows a lot about our organization. I was a little bit worried I wasn’t going to get back to the front after that penalty. I was mainly nervous about accidents and crashes that happen here and you get caught up in a lot of times. I felt like my car was fast enough to get to them, but I didn’t know if I was going to get by them all.”
The win today is Logano’s fourth victory of 2015, the 25th of his career, and his first at Watkins Glen International.
The Penske domination wasn’t the only headline of the day. As they generally do, tempers flared once again at Watkins Glen between a few drivers who were jockeying for position on the late-race restarts. Regan Smith, who started eighth and ran toward the front all day, took issue with a few fellow competitors after the race. Smith exited his car on Pit Road immediately following the race with his sights set on Brendan Gaughan and Ty Dillon. After a few words in the cockpit window of the No. 62 South Point Chevrolet, he headed for Dillon who had been finishing up an interview.
Smith’s discussion with Dillon was short, immediately turning into a shoving match. Dillon, who was apologetic about the late-race incident where he dove underneath Smith on the final restart, spinning the No. 7 car as a result. Following the scuffle, Smith, who is in the heat of a points battle with Dillon, had this to say about the incident.
“I got dumped in Turn 1,” Smith said, “and I wasn’t the only one who got dumped today either. I may have lost the championship today, but he did too. There is zero chance that No. 3 car wins this championship. We’re going to make sure of it.”
Chris Buescher remains the NASCAR XFINITY points leader after his third place finish today in the Zippo 200. He leads Chase Elliott by 24 points going into the second of three road course races in a row for the Nascar XFINITY Series. Elliott finished a rocky day in seventh.
Be sure to follow all the action tomorrow as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes the stage for the 30th Annual Cheez-It 355 at The Glen.