Brooklyn, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Paul Menard benefited from Joey Logano's mishap in the closing laps to win Saturday's 250-mile Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway.
With five laps to go in this 125-lap race, Logano was forced to pit from the lead when he suffered a flat right-rear tire, allowing then second-place runner Menard to move to the front. Menard then held off Sam Hornish Jr. at the finish by 0.5 seconds for his second career Nationwide victory but his first since June 24, 2006 at The Milwaukee Mile (270 races ago).
Menard, a Sprint Cup Series regular since 2007, made his first Nationwide start this season, driving the No. 33 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. He has competed in just a handful of Nationwide events each season since '07. Michigan ended his 98-race winless streak in NASCAR's second-tier series.
"It's good to be back in victory lane," said Menard, whose second Nationwide win came in his 184th career start. "Win number-2. I think we finished second and third a ton the last couple of years, so this feels really good."
Menard has only one win in Sprint Cup, which occurred in the 2011 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He qualified fifth for Sunday's 400-mile race at Michigan.
Logano, who is Menard's fellow competitor in Sprint Cup, ended up finishing 16th. He had led a total of 43 laps.
"I ran over something. That pretty much sucks," Logano said. "I could tell something was wrong on the back straightaway, and then it made me go up the racetrack. I hate to give them away like that. You look at the silver lining, I guess, which is we had a fast race car and should have won the race. You win some this way and lose some this way."
Logano won the Nationwide race at Michigan in 2012.
Menard was closing the gap on Logano and trailed him by one second just before Logano blew his tire. Menard led a total of 18 laps, including the final five.
"I was trying to run him down, and I was catching him a little bit, but I wasn't going to get him," Menard said. "I thought that the best car was going to finish second again. That happened to us a couple of times last year. I don't know what happened [to Logano]. I guess he had a flat tire...I hate to wish bad luck on Joey, but we'll take it."
Hornish rebounded from a spin on lap 2 to finish second. He had won in his most recent Nationwide start four weeks ago at Iowa. He drove the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
"Lap two, I went down in the corner and didn't want to dive bomb down underneath the 88 [Dale Earnhardt Jr.] and went to the outside, and as soon as I got clean air on the nose, it just pinned the nose of the car and the back end came around," Hornish said. "I thought, 'Well, that didn't really start off the way that we wanted to'."
Earnhardt finished third, followed by Kyle Busch, the pole sitter, and Brian Scott. Kyle Larson led the most laps with 46, but Larson fell back to 15th in the field during a late-race round of pit stops under caution and was no longer a factor from there. He wound up placing eighth.
Rookie Chase Elliott took the sixth spot, while his JR Motorsports teammate, Regan Smith, was seventh. Smith, the current points leader, won this race one year ago. Rookies Ty Dillon and Chris Buescher completed the top-10.
Smith now holds a 14 point lead over Elliott Sadler, who finished one lap down in 17th. Sadler was running in the top-five with less than 25 laps to go but had to make an unscheduled pit stop due to an overheating issue.
Elliott is 20 points behind Smith, while Dillon trails by 35.
Trevor Bayne fell 50 points out of the lead following his 30th-place finish. Bayne was involved in an accident with rookie Dylan Kwasniewski just past the halfway point.