DARLINGTON, S.C. — Chase Elliott passed Elliott Sadler on the final lap night to win his second consecutive Nationwide Series race, going from fifth to first on the final two laps Friday night.
Elliott, an 18-year-old high school senior and son of NASCAR great Bill Elliott, broke through for his first series win last week at Texas when he passed Sprint Cup veteran Kevin Harvick. At Darlington, Elliott moved past Sadler when the veteran got loose coming off Turn 2 on a restart two laps from the end.
Sadler held on for second while Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch were third and fourth.
Busch led by 1.5 seconds and was seemingly cruising to victory until Tanner Berryhill’s spin forced a final restart.
BIFFLE NEAR DEAL: Greg Biffle and Roush Fenway Racing are getting closer to a contract extension and could have an announcement soon.
Biffle's contract is up after this season, but he expects to continue driving the No. 16 Ford as he has done full time since 2003. He said Friday there are many “moving parts” in finishing a deal and that the parties will meet with primary sponsor 3M in Minnesota next week for additional discussions.
“I have a feeling it’s getting closer,” he said. “I know there's been a lot of activity.”
Biffle’s been a Roush Fenway mainstay for the past 12 years, winning 19 races and notching 85 top-five finishes since first climbing into the cockpit for owner Jack Roush in 2002. He started full time a season later and has ended the season among the top 10 in points six times since, including a ninth-place finish last year.
“It’s a good program for 3M. I think they're happy,” Biffle said. “Hopefully, here soon, we’ll have something.”
FULFILLING HIS PROMISE: Joey Logano says his “sliced bread syndrome” is over.
Logano, 23, was dubbed the greatest thing since sliced bread as an up-and-coming young racer by NASCAR great Mark Martin. Those were big words to live up to and Logano said he was definitely too young to match that moniker when he first raced in Sprint Cup in 2008.
“Did I start too soon? No doubt I did,” Logano said Friday at Darlington Raceway, site of tonight’s Southern 500. “But you know, it’s experience that I value a lot right now.”
Logano laughed when asked whether “sliced bread syndrome” was finished. “What is that?” he said with a grin.
Logano acknowledged there were plenty of bumps along the road from phenom to Sprint Cup title contender. He won just twice in 145 starts for Joe Gibbs Racing from 2008-2012. Logano moved to Roger Penske’s No. 22 car last season and made the Chase for the first time in his career.
He is all but locked into this year’s 16-team playoff with his victory at Texas Motor Speedway.
“I feel like it’s taken me quite a number of years to figure out what I need to do in this sport and how to race against these guys,” Logano said.
Logano appears to have plenty figured out. He had a more than 2-second lead late at Texas when a late caution forced a green-white-checker finish. Jeff Gordon took just two tires and came out of the pits first. But Logano and his four fresh tires quickly overtook Gordon on the restart and pulled away for victory.
Logano feels like his confidence in Sprint Cup is improving to what he feels racing in Nationwide. He became the series’ youngest winner with his 2008 victory and added 20 more career wins in NASCAR’s Triple-A circuit, a resume that gives him an edge whenever he lines up in a Nationwide event.
The win, the fourth Sprint Cup victory of Logano’s career, made him the seventh different winner in as many races this season. It also likely locked him into NASCAR’s new 16-team playoff format this season.
“Things are going good right now, so all that hard work’s paying off,” Logano said.
Logano said the victory took some of the pressure off himself and the team, giving them the chance to experiment at testing sessions on racetracks that make up the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.
“We can get our guns loaded for when the chase starts,” he said.