Joey Logano wins Food City 250 at Bristol, new surface starts to breed excitement

Well that's more like it.

While I wouldn't advocate a 36-race schedule full of short tracks, Friday night represented everything I value about motorsports. The Food City 250 contained close-quarter, high-contact racing, and the best of what new Bristol is capable of.

In the end, Joey Logano won, holding off Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Elliott Sadler and Kyle Busch to win his sixth Nationwide Series race of 2012 and first at the World's Fastest Half-Mile.

With respect to Logano's savvy driving performance, much of the credit has to go to crew chief Adam Stevens who made tough decisions to net his driver track position all night long. Logano responded by driving around long-time leader Kevin Harvick and holding off the hard-charging Stenhouse in what's best described as a total team performance.

If Friday night's race is a preview for things to come in tonight's IRWIN Tools Night Race, I suspect fans will be pretty happy with the changes made to Bristol's track surface. The new layout forces the drivers to drive right on top of each other, prompting Kyle Busch to say that track officials "made it worse."

That translates to "they made it more exciting," according to my driver-to-English handbook.

I've wrote before that drivers shouldn't be comfortable in their cars. NASCAR races shouldn't be easy to drive and neither should the circuits. The sport is flawed when drivers aren't complaining and I hope we see just as much of it after tonight's Cup Series race.

I'll write a more in-depth look at the championship contenders' day later in the week. It's a quick turnaround to tonight's Cup Series race and I need to get a race thread up before green flag.

You'll find the complete finishing order and some videos after the jump. The Sprint Cup race thread will post at 6 p.m. EST with the race set to go green at 7:30 p.m.

Race Results

NASCAR Nationwide Series Race Number 23
Unofficial Race Results for the 31St Annual Food City 250 - Friday, August 24, 2012
Bristol Motor Speedway - Bristol, TN - .533 Mile Paved
Total Race Length - 250 Laps - 133.25 Miles - Purse: $1,226,983
Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Pts Bns Driver Rating Winnings Status Tms Laps
1 2 18 Joey Logano(i) Dollar General Toyota 250 0 135.2 $43,675 Running 3 81
2 5 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. NOS Ford 250 43 1 130.4 $48,218 Running 2 60
3 10 54 Kyle Busch(i) Monster Energy Toyota 250 0 111.5 $26,625 Running
4 4 3 Austin Dillon # American Ethanol Chevrolet 250 40 103.4 $32,093 Running
5 7 2 Elliott Sadler OneMain Financial Chevrolet 250 40 1 117.0 $27,718 Running 1 11
6 19 88 Cole Whitt # SPY Optic Chevrolet 250 38 95.5 $29,018 Running
7 12 36 Ryan Blaney Seal Wrap Chevrolet 250 37 94.7 $18,710 Running
8 18 43 Michael Annett Pilot/Flying J Ford 250 36 89.9 $25,038 Running
9 34 7 Danica Patrick GoDaddy.com Chevrolet 250 35 84.1 $24,818 Running
10 9 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Detroit Genuine Parts Dodge 250 34 94.9 $25,418 Running
11 16 87 Joe Nemechek AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota 250 33 79.9 $24,643 Running
12 23 19 Tayler Malsam G-Oil/Noah's Light Foundation Toyota 250 32 77.0 $24,218 Running
13 14 44 Mike Bliss Bandit Chippers Toyota 250 31 83.0 $24,118 Running
14 15 38 Kasey Kahne(i) Great Clips Chevrolet 250 0 102.5 $17,585 Running
15 13 33 Kevin Harvick(i) Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet 250 0 120.8 $20,915 Running 1 98
16 1 60 Trevor Bayne Yourracecar.com Ford 250 28 97.7 $20,905 Running
17 33 01 Mike Wallace Tradebank Chevrolet 247 27 70.2 $23,928 Running
18 26 81 Jason Bowles # American Majority Dodge 247 26 66.6 $23,883 Running
19 27 39 Josh Richards Joy Global Ford 247 25 63.7 $23,848 Running
20 30 86 Kevin Lepage Qello Ford 247 24 66.9 $18,015 Running
21 11 30 Nelson Piquet Jr(i) Autotrac/Qualcomm Chevrolet 246 0 81.8 $23,743 Running
22 38 24 Benny Gordon Big Timber/Horizon Entertainment Toyota 246 22 61.8 $23,698 Running
23 20 99 John Wes Townley(i) Zaxby's Toyota 246 0 76.3 $23,638 Running
24 42 23 Robert Richardson Jr. North Texas Pipe Chevrolet 246 20 46.4 $23,603 Running
25 28 15 Timmy Hill Lilly Trucking Chevrolet 245 19 49.8 $17,350 Running
26 41 4 Brad Teague SCAG Commercial Mowers Chevrolet 245 18 40.5 $23,678 Running
27 39 14 Eric McClure Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Toyota 244 17 47.2 $23,418 Running
28 36 41 Fain Skinner Carport Empire Ford 244 16 51.0 $23,348 Running
29 29 70 Johanna Long # Foretravel Chevrolet 244 15 43.6 $23,313 Running
30 6 31 Justin Allgaier Brandt Chevrolet 242 14 45.5 $23,568 Running
31 32 52 Joey Gase # Jimco Windows Chevrolet 239 13 44.0 $16,760 Running
32 8 22 Brad Keselowski(i) Discount Tire Dodge 226 0 49.2 $16,690 Running
33 21 51 Jeremy Clements stjude.org Chevrolet 213 11 40.6 $23,138 Running
34 3 11 Brian Scott Dollar General Toyota 198 10 79.0 $23,118 Clutch
35 22 40 Erik Darnell The Motorsports Group Chevrolet 173 9 66.6 $23,103 Electrical
36 40 74 Rick Crawford(i) Koma Unwind Chevrolet 55 0 44.0 $16,615 Overheating
37 43 71 Carl Long Lilly Trucking Chevrolet 27 7 40.1 $16,595 Oil Pressure
38 25 75 Scott Riggs(i) Lilly Trucking Chevrolet 20 0 35.7 $16,556 Electrical
39 37 50 David Starr(i) Make Motorsports Chevrolet 19 0 37.1 $16,455 Engine
40 24 42 Josh Wise(i) Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet 14 0 37.4 $16,430 Electrical
41 35 08 Tim Andrews Randy Hill Racing Ford 11 3 33.9 $16,405 Brakes
42 17 10 Jeff Green TriStar Motorsports Toyota 6 2 31.4 $16,375 Vibration
43 31 46 Chase Miller The Motorsports Group Chevrolet 2 1 30.3 $16,330 Ignition
Race Comments: Before an estimated attendance of 85,000, Joey Logano won the Food City 250, his 15th NASCAR Nationwide Series victory. Prior to the green flag, the following cars dropped to the rear of the field for the reasons indicated: #87 (missed drivers meeting).
Failed to Qualify: (3) 89 Morgan Shepherd, 47 Stephen Leicht(i), 00 Blake Koch.
Time of Race: 01 Hrs, 44 Mins, 26 Secs. Average Speed: 76.556 MPH Margin of Victory: 0.503 Seconds
Caution Flags: 9 for 59 laps: Laps: 6-10 (#31, 3 accident Turn 3 [None]); 27-31 (#22, 4 accident Turn 2 [23]); 34-39 (Debris Backstretch [4]); 46-53 (#81, 01 accident Frontstretch [31]); 63-68 (#11, 54 accident Backstretch [24]); 115-121 (#41 spin Turn 2 [86]); 173-180 (#24 accident Turn 4 [19]); 227-235 (#99 accident Turn 2 [19]); 244-248 (#3, 60, 38 accident Turns 1 & 2 [33]).
Lead Changes: 7 among 4 drivers: 0; J. Logano(i) 1-35; E. Sadler 36-46; R. Stenhouse Jr. 47-105; J. Logano(i) 106-116; R. Stenhouse Jr. 117; K. Harvick(i) 118-215; J. Logano(i) 216-250.
Top 10 Driver Points: (1) E. Sadler 864;(2) R. Stenhouse Jr. 845;(3) S. Hornish Jr. 836;(4) A. Dillon # 829;(5) J. Allgaier 770;(6) M. Annett 726;(7) C. Whitt # 671;(8) M. Bliss 640;(9) B. Scott 550;(10) D. Patrick 539.
3M Lap Leader : Kevin Harvick, #33 98 Laps Coors Light Pole Award : Trevor Bayne, #60 121.19 mph
Featherlite Most Improved Driver : Cole Whitt, #88 27 Places Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race : Joe Gibbs Racing Engines - Mark Cronquist, #18
Mobil 1 Oil Driver of the Race : Austin Dillon, #3 Sunoco Rookie of the Race : Austin Dillon, #3
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
Next Race: Sep. 1, 2012 - Atlanta Motor Speedway
NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications @ P.O. Box 2875, Daytona Beach, FL 32120-2875

Audiovisual

Multiple cars wreck with less than 10 to go (via TheOfficialNASCAR)

Final Laps: Logano holds off the pack (via TheOfficialNASCAR)

Post-Race Reactions: Bristol (via TheOfficialNASCAR)

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