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Joey Logano, Ty Dillon adapting to sleepless nights as new fathers

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — It’s been three weeks since Joey Logano and wife Brittany welcomed their first child, Hudson, into the world.

How bad has the kid wrecked Logano’s sleeping habits?

“Dude. Dude,” Logano said Wednesday during the NASCAR Media Tour when asked by an older media member. “You have no idea. I’m sure you know. Actually, you should know. You know.”

Three fellow Cup drivers definitely know.

Ty Dillon, Paul Menard and Kevin Harvick joined Logano in having children in the last few months.

Dillon and his wife Haley became parents for the first time with daughter Haley in late November. Menard and his wife Jennifer had their second child at the beginning of November. Kevin and DeLana Harvick welcomed their first daughter, Piper Grace, before the New Year.

On Wednesday, Logano was euphoric about the amount of sleep he got the night before thanks to his brother-in-law taking his shift.

“It’s a big day today,” Logano said. “I have never felt better with seven hours of sleep in my life. This is great. Usually it is about four, so this is awesome.”

Three weeks in, the 27-year-old Team Penske driver has reevaluated some aspects of his work-home life balance.

“Mainly that I can’t halfway do something,” Logano said. “When I go to work, I have to be 100 percent at work and when I go home, I have to put my phone down, and that’s it. I have to learn to do that a little better probably. Sometimes it is hard to detach. That is probably one of the biggest things I think that will be very important moving forward as he gets older. There is a time for work and a time for family. I need to do 100 percent at each one of those and not try to do 50 percent at all of them. It just doesn’t work. I don’t think that is the best avenue at least.”

The late nights of trying to rock Hudson to sleep have been a humbling experience.

“I think it probably changes the perspective you have of your parents a lot,” Logano said. “I tell you I appreciate them a lot more. Not that I didn’t before but holy moly. I sit there in the middle of the night and it is three in the morning and he is crying his eyeballs out at me and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, my parents had to do this for me. I was like this at one point.'”

For Dillon, the 25-year-old father gets introspective during his late night tours of duty.

“When I’m sitting there at midnight or one in the morning trying to rock her back to sleep or hold her and just kind of looking into her and seeing small parts of myself and my wife in her is the coolest feeling in the world,” Dillon told NBC Sports.

The Germain Racing driver said he has realized “what life is truly about.”

“Just looking at what life starts as gives you such a perspective on living,” Dillon told media members. “So I hope to take what I’ve learned from being her father for just two months and kind of adapt it to every aspect of my life and the appreciation for what I have and what I am and who I am.”

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

It’s the second time around the baby block for Harvick and Menard.

Even so, the Harvick household has been a “war zone” since Piper Grace arrived, complete with Harvick having to walk around in a protective mask.

“Keelan (his first-born) was a handful the first couple of weeks trying to get adapted to someone else taking some of the attention,” Harvick told NBC Sports. “Then we all got sick the third week. So we’ve had Piper quarantined in one room. I was quarantined in another room. Mom and Keelan were in the middle of the house. I’ve been walking around with a mask on for three days. Finally got to get rid of my mask. I feel like everything is starting to flow as a house of four instead of a house of three. The family travel will be different for sure. But we also have to make sure that Keelan gets to do the things that he’s accustomed to doing and being a part of. That will be a main focus of family for sure.”

Harvick said he was “scared to death” when Keelan was born. But things are different the second time around with a baby girl.

“You expect no sleep, you know you’re going to get pooped and spit up on,” Harvick said. “There’s going to be some challenges of getting it all situated.”

According to Menard, his new-born son already has racing on the mind.

“I was holding him on the couch the other day and I had a little race car on my hoodie,” Menard told NBC Sports. “I had a Wood Brothers Racing sweatshirt on and it had a little race car on it and he stared at it for 20 minutes so I know we’re already in trouble with him.”

Menard said his son will get likely his first exposure to racing at next month’s Daytona 500.

MESSY SITUATION

For a long time Dillon told people he wouldn’t change any child’s diapers unless it was his own.

That time is here.

“The moment finally came and the first diaper up and this black tarry substance is in there and I’m changing the diaper very slowly and using like 20 wipes and every detail,” Dillon told NBC Sports. “She’s almost two months and a week (old) now and I can change diapers blindfolded and in zombie mode at two in the morning in like five seconds. It’s funny how you develop.”

Logano said his favorite moments as a dad so far have come in those late-night sessions with Hudson.

“You’re changing diapers and he’s crying and yelling and fussing at you and then he decides to take a leak all over you,” Lognao told NBC Sports. “At the time it’s not that funny but now it’s funny. If you’re a parent you understand. A few weeks ago someone told me this I’d say, ‘What is wrong with you?’ I get it now. Everything ends up great. You can get crapped on and you still like it. Go figure.”

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90-year-old Hershel McGriff to compete in K&N Pro Series West race in Tucson

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Hershel McGriff has won 37 times in the K&N Pro Series West, and he’s getting a shot at one more win at the age of 90.

McGriff will drive for Bill McAnally Racing in the May 5 race at Tucson Speedway.

His first start in the series came in 1954 when he was 26. That year he also won his only four Cup races in 87 career starts.

McGriff will drive the No. 04 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota Camry.

“Who would turn down a free ride in a K&N car built by Bill McAnally Racing?” McGriff said in a press release.

“Bill said to pick out a track anywhere on the West Coast that has a K&N race and that’s where we’ll race. Tucson’s my home. So, we decided on Tucson, although I haven’t run here that much. It’s going to be fun. I hope I do well, for his sake. I think I can.”

McGriff, born in 1927 when Calvin Coolidge was President of the United States, was chosen as one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers in 1998. He holds the mark as the oldest winner in the K&N West series. His last victory came in 1989 at 61.

A NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee, McGriff’s first NASCAR start came in the first Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in 1950. He drove his car cross-country from his home in Portland, Oregon, finished ninth, and drove back to Portland.

McGriff last competed full-time in the K&N West series in 2001 when he drove for McAnally.

“I was extremely privileged to be associated with one of the 50 greatest drivers in NASCAR when Hershel drove for us in 2001,” McAnally said in a press release. “It’s great to have him back, as he returns to the series for this event.

May 5 will be a busy night at the track for the McGriff family. His granddaughter, Mariah McGriff, will compete in a Super Late Model division race and Hershel McGriff Jr. will compete in an Outlaw Late Model race.

Gaunt Brothers Racing raises $12,000 in auction for Humboldt Broncos hood

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Gaunt Brothers Racing announced Wednesday it raised $12,000 in an auction for the hood off DJ Kennington’s No. 96 Toyota in last weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway

Kennington’s hood featured the logo for the Humboldt Broncos.

The hood honors the 16 people who lost their lives and the 13 who were injured on April 6 when a bus carrying members of the junior-A Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team was struck by a semi-trailer as the team was on its way to a playoff game in Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Canada.

The money will be donated to the Humboldt Broncos charity. The winning bid was placed by Kennington’s sponsor, Castrol.

Kennington, who finished 27th in Food City 500, is a native of St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.

The hood was signed by every member of the No. 96 team.

NASCAR America Fantasy League: 10 Best at Richmond in last three years

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As NASCAR nears the end of its spring short track season, it heads to a course that is often transitional with elements of unrestricted, intermediate speedways tossed in for good measure. Two of the last three races have been run on tracks less than a mile in length, and while they are all very dissimilar in handling characteristics for the drivers, they share at least one important commonality.

Cars are constantly in traffic and a mistake by a driver not in contention for the win can take out the leader – just as it did Ryan Blaney last week at Bristol Motor Speedway. The unpredictable nature of short track racing is part of what makes it a fan favorite, but it can be a challenge to those responsible for handicapping the events.

Last year, only four drivers swept the top 10 in Richmond’s two races. By comparison, the Bristol Motor Speedway bullring had three drivers who swept a track that typically requires rhythm to navigate well. When erratic results creep into the statistics, it pays to take a longer look and three-year averages are one of the most meaningful ways to eliminate peaks and valleys.

Players who have not already joined the NASCAR America Fantasy league can still do so at nascar.com/nbcsportsfantasy, and then share your team using #NASCARAmericaFantasy.

1. Joey Logano (4.83)
Last year’s Toyota Owners 400 was pivotal for Logano. His victory was deemed encumbered by NASCAR and Logano was not allowed to use it to qualify for the playoffs. He finished second in the fall Richmond event , however, and this could be the week he returns to Victory Lane.

2. Denny Hamlin (7.17)
Hamlin finished 22nd in the spring 2015 Richmond race, but he has been an incredibly good value ever since. He finished sixth in the next two races, won the fall 2016 Federated Auto Parts 400 and swept the top five last year.

3. Jimmie Johnson (7.50)
Last week was the first real sign that Johnson’s season is turning around. He came from the back of the grid after making an unapproved tire change, but once he got to the leaders, he looked like the Johnson that once dominated races. It might be time to trust him again.

4. Kyle Busch (7.60 in five starts)
Busch has not scored a top-five at Richmond in three races, but his back-to-back runner-up finishes in fall 2015 and spring 2016 give him a great average. The fact that he enters the Toyota Owners 400 with back-to-back wins and a six-race streak of top-three finishes this year certainly improves his odds.

5. Kurt Busch (7.67)
Busch ticks off both boxes that fantasy players are most concerned with. He has been consistent and strong at Richmond with six top 10s in his last seven races and a win in spring 2015. Last fall, he added another top five to his Richmond record.

5. Kevin Harvick (7.67)
Harvick has been an all or nothing driver at Richmond in recent years with five top fives compared to two results outside the top 10. His most recent of three wins came in spring 2013.

7. Brad Keselowski (8.83)
Expanding the parameters a little for Keselowski reveals he has a Richmond victory in 2014 along with three other top fives in his last eight starts. He has finished worse than 11th only once in that span and makes a great utility fantasy pick this week.

8. Kyle Larson (9.33)
In four years at Richmond, Larson has been consistently better in the fall with a second-place finish in 2016 and his victory last year. He has not yet cracked the top 10 in the spring race, but could fare better now that it is going to be run under the lights.

9. Daniel Suarez (9.50 in two starts)
Now that he has survived 500 laps at Bristol, Suarez knows that his thumb will not be a problem and is prepared to earn a third top 15 in three starts there.

10. Jamie McMurray (10.00)
The one word that always comes to mind with McMurray is consistency. At Richmond, he has not finished worse than 16th in his last nine attempts there. His bad luck from 2018 has to dissipate soon and there is really no telling when or where that will happen.

Bonus Picks

Pole Winner: Matt Kenseth swept the pole last year at Richmond and the new driver of the No. 20 is no stranger to speed. Erik Jones’ first career pole came on the short track of Bristol last August, so he knows how to get around short tracks.

Segment Winners: Play the odds this week. Harvick has the most segment wins in 2018 (four), while Keselowski has earned the most segment points (100). Kyle Busch is no slouch either with 98 segment points and two wins. Whichever of these three qualify best should be the segment one pick; toss a coin for segment two.

For more Fantasy NASCAR coverage, check out Rotoworld.com and follow Dan Beaver (@FantasyRace) on Twitter.

Timothy Peters set for Cup debut at Talladega with Ricky Benton Racing

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It’s never too late to be a rookie.

Timothy Peters, 37, will make his Cup debut next weekend in the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Peters will race with rookie stripes in the No. 92 Ford owned by Ricky Benton Racing. It will be the second Cup race for the team after the Daytona 500 in February. David Gilliland finished 14th in the race.

Peters will be sponsored by Advance Auto Parts.
“This is just a dream come true for me,” said Peters in a press release. “I am humbled and so appreciative for the opportunity that Ricky, Advance Auto Parts , the entire Black’s Tire family, BB&T and Highland Construction have given me to make my first Cup start.”
Peters has eight starts and two wins at Talladega in the Camping World Truck Series.

Before this year, both Peters’ and Benton’s NASCAR fortunes were mostly confined to the Truck Series.

Peters has 239 starts and 10 wins in the series since 2005. He also has eight starts in the Xfinity Series. Peters has been without a full-time ride since Red Horse Racing shut down after five races in 2017.

Benton has fielded the No. 92 in 80 Truck races since 2010.

The two teamed up for the March Truck race at Martinsville Speedway. Peters, who won at the track in 2009, started 16th and finished seventh. It was the 12th top 10 for the team.

“Timothy is an incredibly talented driver and proved to be a great fit with our guys at Martinsville,” Benton said in a press release. “He and (crew chief) Mike (Hester) worked great together, communicated well and made some great adjustments as that race progressed.
“I have no doubt that it will carry over to Talladega in the Cup car.”