Secret to Joey Logano’s Daytona 500 victory? It was what he did off the track


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Joey Logano’s offseason wasn’t just about his wedding.

When he was in a plane, he watched video. When he was at the race shop, he studied video. When he had free time, he analyzed video.

With the focus of a sleep-deprived, caffeine-infused basketball coach breaking down game tape, Logano studied past performances in restrictor-plate races. He saw mistakes. He saw missed opportunities. He saw impatience.

Even in Logano’s breakout season of five wins and a fourth-place finish in the points last year, a weakness was evident – how he ran at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Logano failed to score a top-10 finish in any of those four races.

While some can argue that a string of finishes outside the top 10 at a restrictor-plate track is more about luck, Logano’s performance was a troubling trend. Until Sunday’s Daytona 500 victory, Logano had gone nine consecutive restrictor-plate races without a top-10 finish.

Thus, the extra film work in the offseason.

“Limiting the mistakes in the pack was something that I feel like we needed to work on the most coming into this race,’’ Logano said Monday morning. “There was a lot of times before where every time I got a run, I would just make a move. There was a lack of patience and understanding the draft but the more we watched this and understood it, making smart moves and making sure you don’t put yourself in the position to basically lose everything you’ve got by working and staying up there all day.

“The worst thing that can happen is if we come down pit road and put two tires on the car to stay up front and then you make a mistake and now you are 20th with two tires. It isn’t a good deal. You have to work hard to stay up there with the track position.”

Sunday, he applied what he learned watching video, studying other races this week at Daytona and what he gathered when on the track. The result was an aggressive, heady drive to repel the challenges from Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin and others.

Where leading at a plate track used to be a detriment – the leader often was the victim of cars ganging up in the draft against them – that’s not the case with this rules package. The leader bobs and weaves like a boxer, changing lanes and keeping the trailing cars from from making a run.

A wrong decision can cost a driver a chance to win NASCAR’s biggest race. Jeff Gordon, who led 87 laps, lamented a decision to restart on the high line as the leader. The line didn’t get as good a start and Gordon soon lost the lead. He never got it back, stuck in traffic. Earnhardt was disappointed in a decision he made that dropped him back late in the race and kept him from having a better chance to win.

Logano avoided those mistakes.

“You are constantly looking for someone to snag you and push you out of the pack,’’ Logano said of staying at the front. “We are pushing each other really close and everyone is trying to find the hole. If you leave a gap they take it. That was key, trying to limit the mistakes I have made in the past and make sure that I tried to understand each move before we made it.”

That allowed Logano to be the leader for the green-white-checkered finish. When the green flag waved, Harvick gave Clint Bowyer a strong push and that allowed Bowyer to push Logano clear of the bottom line by the time the field entered Turn 1. No one could make a move on Logano before the caution came out on the last lap, assuring Logano’s victory.

Now, he has another video to watch – him in Victory Lane after the Daytona 500.

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin


NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Hamlin forced Elliott toward the wall. Elliott’s car slapped the wall. Elliott then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Xfinity points after Charlotte

Justin Allgaier wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won a fuel-mileage gamble to win Monday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allgaier stretched his fuel to outlast second-place John Hunter Nemechek. Following in the top five were Cole Custer, Austin Hill and Ty Gibbs.

The victory was Allgaier’s first of the year and the first of the season for JR Motorsports. He has 20 career wins.

MORE: Charlotte Xfinity results

After a long day at CMS, the race ended at 11:25 p.m. The race started Monday morning but was stopped twice because of weather before it was halted with 48 of 200 laps completed so that the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race could be run.

When the race was stopped, Gibbs, Nemechek and Allgaier were in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first two stages.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Justin Allgaier has had good cars in previous races but finally cashed in with a win Monday. He led 83 laps. … John Hunter Nemechek, in second, scored his fifth top-two run of the season. … Cole Custer scored his sixth straight top-10 finish. … Ty Gibbs lasted 900 miles for the day and led 52 laps in the Xfinity race.

Who had a bad race: Sam Mayer was running 10th when he spun off Turn 2. He finished 35th. … Sheldon Creed finished three laps down in 28th.

Next: The series moves on to Portland International Raceway in Oregon for a 4:30 p.m. ET race June 3.