Joey Logano dominated Saturday’s 5-Hour Energy 200 Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway but found himself having to race frantically over the closing miles to win it.
Logano chased down upstart leader Ryan Truex with five laps to go and passed him to take the lead for good.
Truex finished second, and Brian Scott was third, giving Joe Gibbs Racing a sweep of the top three spots.
Kurt Busch and Justin Allgaier completed the top five. Austin Dillon was sixth, and Elliott Sadler finished seventh and took the series point lead.
Ty Dillon finished eighth in his Nationwide debut.
Logano led 154 of the race’s 200 laps but dropped to seventh on a late-race pit stop.
At the green, he began pursuit of Truex, who was racing only 11 days after undergoing an appendectomy. The Truex car became increasingly loose as the race progressed, and Logano gained on Truex with every lap.
The critical moment came with five laps left as Truex approached a pair of lapped cars and passed them by driving between them. That slowed the progress of the Truex car considerably, and Logano passed him on the outside.
“I’ll get one eventually,” Truex said. “It’s just tough. To race each other in front of the leader like that is not smart. I probably could have picked a better way to get around them. … I think if I hadn’t caught that lapped traffic I would have had them.”
Logano called the chase of Truex “pretty intense. I worked my way back up there. I was running hard but was somewhat patient with it. Ryan got caught up with lapped traffic, and I caught him with a big run on the outside. He got real loose there at the end.”
The second half of the race featured another unfortunate on-track meeting involving Danica Patrick and Sam Hornish Jr., who have a difficult history.
Hornish hit the rear of Patrick’s car as he tried to make a three-wide pass on the inside. Patrick’s car hit Brad Sweet’s car and then slammed into the wall. That produced the day’s fifth caution.
The day was a sour one for Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who had the point lead starting the race but left town without it.
Stenhouse crashed on lap 27 while running second, causing enough damage to send his Ford to the garage area for repairs.
Stenhouse, who returned to the track to collect a handful of points, finishing 32nd, admitted that he simply lost control of the car.
“I wasn’t up on the wheel and just kind of riding around until that competition caution and just got behind on the steering,” he said. “It was driver error, totally my fault.
“Dover is a place you have to attack, but you have to respect it. You always have to be up on the wheel, and I think I got too relaxed just riding around logging laps. It was just driver error.”
Kurt Busch, who finished fourth, and fifth-place Allgaier had a tense post-race conversation about contact between their two cars early in the race. They essentially agreed to disagree about the matter. Busch said, “I’m on probation. I can’t even pick my nose right.”
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 30 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.