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Menard capitalizes on Logano's problem to win at Michigan

Paul Menard celebrates in victory lane at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2014.
Paul Menard celebrates in victory lane at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2014.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Joey Logano looked to be well on his way to another NASCAR Nationwide Series win on Saturday, leading the way with four laps remaining in the Ollie's Bargain Outlet 250 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., but a cut tire in the closing laps sent Logano down pit road, handing the lead over to Paul Menard. Menard ran up front the rest of the way to claim his second-career Nationwide win.

"I ran over something," Logano said. "That pretty much sucks. We had a really good Discount Tire Ford Mustang this whole race. We kept fighting through the field and came up to the front and were having a lot of fun. Once I finally got clean air, we were able to pull away. The 33 (Menard) was quick and had a fast race car, also. We were going to have a race, because he was catching me a little bit."

While other cars led more laps, including 43 led by Logano and 46 led by Kyle Larson in the 250-lap race, according to Menard, the best car won, even if he did inherit the lead because of a cut tire for Logano.

"The best car won today; I thought we gave it away on the last restart," Menard said.

Menard raced up to second when the race restarted for the final time following a caution that came out with 45 laps to go. But soon after claiming the second spot, he drifted back and lost several spots. He got back up to second with just under 20 laps remaining to be in position to take advantage late in the race when Logano had trouble.

Sam Hornish Jr. overcame a spin on lap two to finish second, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third, Kyle Busch was fourth, and Brian Scott rounded out the top-five.

"We were able to work our way back up there, just didn't have enough for the No. 33 there at the end," Hornish said. "We didn't give up; we kept working hard."

After Menard and Ty Dillon each led laps early in the race, Larson moved up to the front, with Chase Elliott in tow in second position. Larson and Elliott looked to be the two forces to be reckoned with for the race win around the midway point of the race, but their pit strategies wound up taking them out of contention in the end.

When the second and third cautions of the race on laps 51 and 66, both for debris, everyone else opted to pit during one or both of the yellow flags, but not Larson and Elliott. Larson and Elliott both stayed out during both cautions, and as a result, were on much older tires when the final yellow flag waved with 45 to go. With older tires, both drivers had to take four, spending significantly more time on pit road than others who took fuel only. The wound up restarting around 15th position. At first, they had a hard time driving back up through the field, but in the end, Elliott was able to make his way up to sixth by the finish. Larson wound up eighth.

Regan Smith finished seventh, Dillon was ninth, and Chris Buescher finished 10th.

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