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Logano wins in Phoenix; Sadler's title hopes take big hit

The SportsXchange

By Reid Spencer

NASCAR Wire Service

Distributed by The Sports Xchange

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Joey Logano smoked the field, while Elliott Sadler's title dreams went up in smoke.

Logano dominated Saturday's Great Clips 200 Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, beating new Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brian Vickers to the finish line to win for the ninth time in 21 starts this season, the first time at PIR and the 18th time in his career.

Sadler's wreck forced the race to a green-white-checkered-flag finish and extended the length of the race from the scheduled 200 laps to 204.

Defending NNS champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ran third and opened his lead in the series standings to 20 points over Sadler, whose late crash led to a 22nd-place finish.

For the second straight year at Phoenix, Elliott Sadler's championship hopes took a severe blow. Coming to the white flag in 12th position, Sadler tangled with the Chevrolet of Cole Whitt, backed into the outside wall and turned sideways into the path of Richard Childress Racing teammate Brendan Gaughan.

The blow from Gaughan's Chevy tore the nose off Sadler's car. NASCAR red-flagged the race, and Sadler sat in his crippled car, after driving away from the accident scene. Sadler lost a lap in the pits while his car was repaired and rolled across the finish line at half speed.

Sadler started from the rear in a backup car after slapping the wall during qualifying. From the drop of the green flag, he worked his way toward the front, climbing to the 18th position before John Blankenship's spin on Lap 32 brought out the second caution.

After a two-tire call on Lap 71, under the third yellow for Blankenship's second spin, Sadler restarted eighth. When Paulie Harraka looped his car in Turn 4 on Lap 89, NASCAR called the fifth caution. Sadler stayed out and restarted fourth -- and quickly gave back almost everything he had gained to that point.

Sadler went wide into the marbles on the restart on Lap 95 and nearly lost control of the No. 2 Chevrolet. By the time he had regained his momentum, Sadler was 15th and running behind Stenhouse, who had pitted for fuel and tires.

Running 11th on Lap 148 when Mike Wallace tapped Timmy Hill's Chevrolet and sent it spinning, Sadler chose to pit for four tires under caution on Lap 149, leaving him 14 spots behind Stenhouse in fourth for a restart on Lap 154.

Sadler, however, gained five positions to 13th before contact from Kyle Busch's Toyota turned Sam Hornish Jr. on Lap 155. By then, Stenhouse was running second to Logano.
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