The Gen Fix: Joey Logano says Bristol was an opportunity for Team Penske to hone its fast repair work

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With two wrecked cars, two victories in the bank and a few hours of solid rain ahead, there was little incentive for Team Penske to stick around Sunday.

But after restlessly waiting through a red flag of nearly four hours in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, the crews of Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski scrambled to prepare their Fords as the race restarted. After they were involved in a Lap 19 crash shortly before the event was stopped, they both returned. Logano finished 59 laps down in 40th, and Keselowski was 35th, 22 laps down.

Because each already had qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup via a victory (Logano in the Daytona 500; Keselowski at Auto Club Speedway), why did the teams undertake the seemingly futile exercise of repairing their Gen 6 cars to secure finishes that were guaranteed to be poor?

Logano said it was good preparation for when a sound and swift repair job actually would matter.

“I think the damage repair the team did was really good and we showed we had a really fast car afterward,” he said after practice Friday at Richmond International Raceway. “That makes it more frustrating when you can go run with these guys, but you don’t want to be that guy racing with them when you are 50 laps down. You don’t want to make enemies out there.

“The practice the guys got fixing the car … we didn’t have to do that because we have the win already, but we get practice for if that comes up, and we have to do that. That was good practice to repair cars and get back out there as quick as we can.”

Logano said Team Penske didn’t have a debriefing meeting among its teams because of the crash, which started when Keselowski lost control of his No. 2 Fusion off Turn 4.

“There was nothing to talk about,” Logano said with a laugh. “I had a meeting with my team, and we went over what went through the weekend, but we didn’t talk much as a team because there wasn’t as much to go over after such a short run. Everything is fine. Brad and I talked about it. He obviously didn’t mean to do it. It hurt both our days, not just mine. It was a tough day, but we were able to take something out of the weekend.”

Logano was able to shake it off by looking toward Saturday’s Toyota Owners 400, which he enters as the defending winner.

“It helps with confidence for sure,” he said. “I looked at Richmond in the past as one of my toughest race tracks, yet we got a win here last spring and had a decent run (sixth) in the fall.”

“The tire has changed since then, so I am still trying to figure out this tire and how to get back to where we were in the spring with the changes made to the race car and the tire. I feel like we are close, and there is another step we have to find here. I feel like in practice we were a top five car but just barely. I don’t feel like we are quite a winning car yet.”

 

Jordan Anderson in fiery crash in Talladega Truck race

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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Jordan Anderson was airlifted to an area hospital after being involved in a fiery crash during Saturday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Anderson’s car caught fire in the middle of a pack of drafting trucks. Flames burst from three areas around the truck as Anderson tried to slow the vehicle and move onto the track apron. The truck hit the inside wall. Anderson climbed from the vehicle in a cloud of smoke as it came to a stop.

Anderson, 31 and a resident of Forest Acres, S.C., was transported to the infield medical center before being airlifted. NASCAR confirmed Anderson’s trip to the hospital.

Fox Sports reported that a team member said Anderson had burns.

Anderson is a part-time driver in the Truck Series. He has a top finish of 14th this season.

Starting lineup for Talladega Cup race: Christopher Bell wins pole

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Six playoff drivers will start in the top 10 for Sunday’s 500-mile NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Christopher Bell won the pole for the race Saturday with a speed of 180.591 miles per hour. He was followed by Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola and Chase Briscoe.

MORE: Talladega Cup starting lineup

MORE: Talladega Cup qualifying results

Playoff drivers starting in the top 10 are Bell, Larson, Hamlin, Briscoe, Ross Chastain (sixth) and William Byron (ninth).

Noah Gragson, who qualified seventh, is replacing Alex Bowman, who is sitting out the race with concussion-like symptoms.

Ryan Blaney, starting 19th, is the lowest playoff driver on the starting grid.

 

Christopher Bell wins Cup Series pole at Talladega Superspeedway

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Playoff driver Christopher Bell won the pole position Saturday for Sunday’s 500-mile NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

Bell, 11th in the playoff standings and below the cutline entering Sunday’s race, ran 180.591 mph to edge second-place Kyle Larson at 180.516.

Playoff drivers took six of the top-10 starting spots.

MORE: Talladega Cup qualifying results

The race is the second in the second round of the playoffs. Any playoff driver who wins the race will automatically advance to the next round.

Joey Logano leads the playoff standings.

Noah Gragson, replacing Alex Bowman, who is sitting out the race with concussion-like symptoms, qualified seventh.

The race (2 p.m., ET) will be broadcast by NBC.

 

 

Sunday Talladega Cup race: Start time, TV info, weather

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Sunday will mark a difficult crossroads for NASCAR. As several of its top drivers express serious concerns about safety, the Cup Series is at Talladega Superspeedway, the circuit’s biggest track and site of many massive wrecks over its 53 years of existence.

Adding to the tension is the fact that Sunday’s 188-lap, 500-mile race is the middle event in the second round of the playoffs. With a win automatically advancing any of the 12 playoff drivers to the next round, the final laps are likely to be frantic.

Sunday’s race (2 p.m. ET, NBC) will begin with Joey Logano atop the playoff point standings. Following him in the top eight are Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suarez, Chase Elliott and Chase Briscoe.

Below the cutline are Austin Cindric, William Byron, Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman. Byron fell below the line this week when NASCAR penalized him for bumping Hamlin under caution during last Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports has appealed the penalty.

Bowman will miss Sunday’s race because of concussion-like symptoms he has experienced after a crash at Texas. Noah Gragson will replace him.

Bell won the pole Saturday with a speed of 180.591 mph.

Details for Sunday’s race:

START: The command to start engines will be given by Jimmy Rane, president of Great Southern Wood Preserving, at 1:52 p.m. (ET). … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 2:04 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 11 a.m. … Driver introductions are at 1:15 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Barbara Embry, chaplin of Citizens Baptist Medical Center, at 1:43 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by the 313th U.S. Army Band at 1:45 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 188 laps (500 miles) on the 2.66-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 60. Stage 2 ends at Lap 120.

STARTING LINEUP: Talladega Cup starting lineup

TV/RADIO: NBC will broadcast the race at 2 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 1 p.m. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 1 p.m. … SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

STREAMING: NBCsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Mainly sunny. High of 78. 5% chance of rain.

LAST TIME: Bubba Wallace won last October’s race, which was shortened to 117 laps by rain. Brad Keselowski was second.

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