Joey Logano fastest in Thursday’s first of two Nationwide Series practices at Darlington

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Joey Logano isn’t sitting on his laurels from winning this past Monday’s rain-delayed Duck Commander 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Logano on Thursday afternoon was fastest in the first of two practice sessions for Friday’s VFW Sports Clips Help a Hero 200 Nationwide Series race at Darlington Raceway.

With no Sprint Cup practice scheduled for Thursday, Logano covered the legendary 1.366-mile, egg-shaped track at 169.380 mph, the only driver to exceed 169 mph.

Kyle Busch was second-fastest (168.700), followed by Kyle Larson (168.613), Chris Buescher (168.371) and Dakoda Armstrong (186.301).

Here’s the entire list of Thursday’s first practice session. We’ll be back later today with results from Thursday’s second NNS practice, as well.

1 Joey Logano 169.380

2 Kyle Busch 168.700

3 Kyle Larson 168.613

4 Chris Buescher 168.371

5 Dakoda Armstrong 168.301

6 Kevin Harvick 168.135

7 Brian Scott 167.957

8 Elliott Sadler 167.848

9 Ty Dillon 167.785

10 Regan Smith 167.163

11 Matt Kenseth 166.925

12 Landon Cassill 166.580

13 Chase Elliott 166.450

14 Jeremy Clements 166.428

15 JJ Yeley 166.219

16 James Buescher 165.995

17 Brendan Gaughan 165.827

18 Ryan Reed 165.442

19 Trevor Bayne 165.259

20 David Starr 165.231

21 Mike Bliss 165.076

22 Cale Conley 164.937

23 Ryan Sieg 164.655

24 Josh Wise 164.248

25 Mike Wallace 164.133

26 Dylan Kwasniewski 163.077

27 Eric McClure 162.732

28 Jeff Green 162.297

29 Todd Bodine 162.056

30 Tanner Berryhill 161.795

31 Derrike Cope 161.143

32 Jeffrey Earnhardt 160.617

33 Matt DiBenedetto 160.596

34 Matt Carter 159.130

35 Tommy Joe Martins 158.433

36 Joey Gase 157.494

37 Carlos Contreras 157.328

38 Mike Harmon 152.073

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

 

April 5 in Motorsports History: Alex Zanardi’s amazing Long Beach rally

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Alex Zanardi entered the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 5, 1998 as the race’s defending champion and the series’ defending champion.

But the Italian didn’t seem a serious contender for much of the 105-lap event. Zanardi started 11th position and lost a lap early when he was involved in a multicar spin in the hairpin.

Alex Zanardi celebrates after winning the 1998 Grand Prix of Long Beach. Photo: Getty Images

But the race was still young, and despite emerging from the incident in 18th place, Zanardi slowly progressed through the field while battling radio problems that made communication difficult with his team.

With five laps remaining, Zanardi passed Dario Franchitti on the backstretch for second place and then focused in on leader Bryan Herta.

With two laps remaining, Zanardi made his move, making a daring pass on the inside of Herta in the Queen’s Hairpin (which no longer exists as the track layout was changed the following year).

The move was reminiscent of Zanardi’s famous last-lap move on the inside of Laguna Seca’s famed Corkscrew in 1996, which deprived Herta of his first CART victory.

Franchitti passed Herta as well, and Zanardi went on to clinch his first victory of the season.

“On a day when everything went wrong, we came back and won,” Zanardi said following the race. “I can’t explain it. It wasn’t until I saw Bryan ahead of me that I ever thought I had a shot at winning. It was amazing. I have no words to describe it.”

Following Long Beach, Zanadri won six more times in 1998 en route to his second and final CART championship.

Also on this date:

1992: Bobby Rahal led from start to finish to win the Valvoline 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. The win was the first of four victories for Rahal during his championship season.

2009: Ryan Briscoe won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first of three victories for the Aussie in 2009. The race was also the first IndyCar Series on Versus, which was rebranded as NBC Sports Network in 2012.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994