Penske Racing asserted its dominance at Chicagoland Speedway, with Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano capturing victory and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Sam Hornish Jr. finishing a strong second. Austin Dillon finished third, won the Nationwide Dash 4 Cash and said he “missed it by one adjustment.”
Once again, the cream found itself rising to the top. A Sprint Cup driver ended up in victory lane, and it marked Logano’s second Nationwide Series victory to go along with his 20th in the series.
Hornish had a lot to prove, and did it at what has become his best track. A winner at Chicagoland Speedway in Indy Car, Hornish has never finished outside of the top 10 in four races at the 1.5 mile oval. The tour will return to the Windy City with a lot more on the line in September, and Hornish will surely be the car to beat.
Despite now being the point’s leader, Hornish & company should not rejoice. Simply put, they let this race get away after setting an impressive pole lap earlier in the day. After getting a pit-lane speeding violation, Hornish had to work his way through the field for a majority of the race.
And once there, he could not get past Logano despite, in my opinion, having the faster car. He simply waited too late to go and finished second as a result. But he now has momentum and the championship lead going to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he has found victory before.
Regan Smith rallied from a spin and an issue with a spring rubber to finish 13th. The elite drivers of the Nationwide Series have separated themselves from the pack, and the tight point’s race reflects that. Eight points separates the top three drivers now, with Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier still in the fray 20 and 22 points behind, respectively.
Although Smith relinquished his lead, he must head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he only has one top-10 finish and no Nationwide Series experience. Once again, though, the championship race has gotten even tighter and will separate who can compete at the next level from those who aren’t meant to be champions.
Follow Mike Guzman on Twitter @Mike486.