Xfinity Series: Logano wins at Charlotte; four drivers eliminated from inaugural Chase

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Sprint Cup regular Joey Logano won Sunday’s rescheduled Drive For the Cure 300 Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“It was fun to race a car with no points and nothing to lose,” Logano told NBCSN. “I was huffing and puffing and giving it all I had.”

But more importantly for the 12 drivers who were looking to advance to the Round of 8 in the inaugural Xfinity Chase for the Championship, eight moved on and four others didn’t.

Advancing were Daniel Suarez, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, Brendan Gaughan, Ryan Reed, Erik Jones, Blake Koch and Darrell Wallace Jr.

Drivers that fell short and were eliminated from further advancement in the Chase are Ty Dillon (who missed advancing by just one point), Brennan Poole, Ryan Sieg and Brandon Jones.

MORE: Xfinity Series: Results of Drive For the Cure 300 at Charlotte

Logano led just 12 laps in the 200-lap event. Sadler finished second, followed by Suarez, Kyle Larson (who led a race-high 165 laps), Erik Jones, Allgaier, Kevin Harvick, Matt Tifft, Brad Keselowski and Sieg.

How Logano won: It was basically a matter of patience for the Sprint Cup regular. He took the lead for the first and only time on Lap 189 and held on for the remaining 12 laps to take the checkered flag.

Who else had a good day: Kyle Larson led the most laps (165) and appeared to be headed towards the win. However, Logano got past him and Larson didn’t help his cause when he skimmed the outside wall, dropping him from a potential win or second-place finish to a fourth place showing.

Who had a bad day: The four drivers who missed advancing to the Round of 8. Ty Dillon was particularly emotional about falling short of advancing by one point.

Notable: Logano’s crew chief, Brian Wilson, won his first race as an Xfinity Series crew chief. … Darrell Wallace Jr. finished 20th, the lowest-finishing Chase driver, but still advanced to the Round of 8 by just one point.

Quote of the day: “We were terrible today and didn’t give ourselves much of a shot. For whatever reason, our car was not the same today. … It’s heartbreaking. We couldn’t even stay on the lead lap. It’s very upsetting. I wanted this championship so bad. It hurts.” – Ty Dillon, who fell short of advancing to the Round of 8 by one point, on NBCSN.

What’s next: Kansas Lottery 300, Saturday, Oct. 15 (3 p.m. ET), Kansas Speedway.

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Mental fatigue, endurance are biggest challenges for drivers in Coca 600 (video)

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While you’d think they’re the same thing, mental fatigue and endurance are two entirely different animals when it comes to racing in NASCAR’s longest race of the season, Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

On Friday’s Motorsports Special on NBCSN, NASCAR on NBC analyst and former NASCAR Cup crew chief Steve Letarte explained how drivers deal with both the mental and physical strain of the grueling race. Also giving their viewpoint were Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman.

Driving around isn’t grueling you say, eh? Tell that to Brad Keselowski, who lost an incredible 16 pounds racing in a 600 a few years back.

Drivers will make sure to stay hydrated with liquids — and even snacks like candy bars to keep their energy boosted — during the course of the race.

Check out Letarte’s analysis in the videos above and below.

 

Legendary announcer Ken Squier gets you ready for Sunday’s big day of racing (video)

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Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula One’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.

Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400 lap, 600 mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).

Roller coasters, bicycling & softball: How drivers spent their day off

Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
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With no track activity, NASCAR Cup drivers had a free day on Friday and some were able to get out and about.

Jimmie Johnson helped organize a 69-mile bike ride Friday morning for 2006 MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden, who died May 22 at age 35 from injures suffered when he was hit by a car while cycling in Italy. The 69 miles ridden were for the number Hayden raced with in his career. Among drivers who joined him were Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Chase Elliott and Daniel Suarez.

 

Others did other activities on their day off.

Ryan Blaney went to Carowinds amusement park just south of Charlotte, North Carolina, and took to periscope as he rode in the front row on the Fury 325 roller coaster, which reaches a peak height of 325 feet and then goes into an 81-degree drop.

The ride reaches speeds up to 95 mph. The coaster is North America’s longest steel coaster at 1.25 miles. The average ride time is 3 minutes, 25 seconds, and the ride crosses both the North Carolina and South Carolina border.

Brad Keselowski spent part of his team playing in the Team Penske softball game and provided proof of his hitting ability.

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Stewart-Haas Racing, Nature’s Bakery reach settlement that includes sponsorship

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Stewart-Haas Racing announced Friday that it has reached an agreement with Nature’s Bakery that will include the company serving as a sponsor for four Cup races split between Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick.

Those four races will be announced at a later date.

As part of the agreement, all lawsuits between Stewart-Haas Racing and Nature’s Bakery have been dropped.

Stewart-Haas Racing filed a $31 million breach of contract lawsuit against Nature’s Bakery on Feb. 3. Nature’s Bakery had two years remaining on a three-year contract to sponsor Danica Patrick’s team when the company sent the team a notice of termination on Jan. 19 . Nature’s Bakery was to have paid $15,212,000 each season to sponsor the team.

Nature’s Bakery filed a counterclaim Feb. 25 stating it did not see the return it was led to believe in sponsoring Patrick’s team.

“It’s gratifying to see a difficult situation get resolved in a professional manner that suits all parties,” said Brett Frood, president, Stewart-Haas Racing. “Together, we worked diligently to find an equitable solution to our collective challenges.”

“I am a longtime motorsports fan and, particularly, a fan of NASCAR,” said Dave Marson, founder of Nature’s Bakery. “Our partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing began with direct, open conversations and that foundation allowed us to reach this agreement.”

Other parts of the agreement were not revealed.

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