Joey Logano throws blocks at right time, holds on to win Xfinity race at Talladega

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Joey Logano made a picture-perfect move on the final lap, blocking to hold off late surges by Brian Scott, Chris Buescher and Austin Dillon, to win Saturday’s Winn Dixie 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.

“That was intense,” Logano said over his team radio after taking the checkered flag.

It was Logano’s second career Xfinity win at Talladega (also won in 2012), his second victory in NASCAR’s junior league this season and 24th career triumph.

“It’s a combination of the old school draft and cars hooking up and bumping,” Logano said. “It’s so intense out there and your mind is looking at everything in the mirror the whole time. It’s just so cool to get to Victory Lane.”

Brian Scott rallied to finish second, followed by Dillon, JJ Yeley and Joey Gase. Buescher placed sixth,

There were six cautions, and four involved multiple cars.

On Lap 39, defending Xfinity champion Chase Elliott cut a right front tire while leading, and his car slammed into the outside wall. Elliott’s car suffered significant damage and finished 37th.

On Lap 73, a 10-car wreck occurred as several cars tried to reach pit road, bringing out a red flag for cleanup.

Among those involved were Daniel Suarez, Ryan Reed, Ryan Sieg, Kenny Wallace, Gase, Brendan Gaughan and Ty Dillon. Gaughan lost control after the wreck and slammed hard into the pit wall after bouncing off teammate Ty Dillon.

Gaughan’s car struck the pit sign for Aric Almirola’s team when he hit the wall, whipping the sign into the crew. Two crew members were injured. One was treated and released from the infield care center, while the other was sent to a local hospital by ambulance for evaluation and treatment.

UPDATE: Troy Ward, was released from Trinity Medical Center, a team spokesman confirmed Saturday night.

How Logano won: Logano actually made three different moves on the final lap to keep Elliott Sadler at bay, as well as to make a couple of late blocks to hold off the late surge by Buescher and Ty Dillon.

Who else had a good day: Scott was just one position from earning his first career Xfinity Series win after 184 starts. Scott rallied from sixth to second on the last lap. “I wanted it so bad,” Scott told FOX Sports. “These things always seem to kind of snakebite me, so I’ll take it.”

Who had a bad day: Because of wrecks, several drivers saw what appeared to be promising days end prematurely. Among those: Brendan Gaughan (finished 39th), Chase Elliott (37th), Kasey Kahne (33rd), Daniel Suarez (31st) and Erik Jones (30th).

Notables: Also having a good day was JJ Yeley, who finished fourth, and Joey Gase, who recorded a career-best fifth-place finish. … Aric Almirola also had a strong day, consistently in the top 10 before finishing 10th.

Quote of the day: “I don’t know if they don’t pay attention or don’t realize it, but when you’re pitting and start sliding up, get the hell out of the way and get down. Talladega’s easy to get down on to pit road, just get out of the way. People don’t get out of the way or try to come from the outside and chaos happens. … It just pisses me off, it’s not that tough to get onto pit road here, and for some reason, guys can’t figure it out.” – Brendan Gaughan, who got caught up in a multi-car wreck on Lap 73.

Standings: Ty Dillon remains in first in the Xfinity Series point standings, Chris Buescher (nine points out of the lead) gained one place to once again take over second place, Chase Elliott (-37) dropped one position to third place, Darrell Wallace Jr. (-37) and Regan Smith (-43) remained unchanged in fourth and fifth place respectively, Brian Scott (-44) gained three spots up to sixth, Elliott Sadler (-48) and Ryan Reed (-75) remained in seventh and eighth respectively, Daniel Suarez (-760 moved up one spot to ninth, and Brendan Gaughan (-81) dropped four spots to 10th.

Next race: Sunday, May 17, Iowa Speedway.

FINAL RESULTS:

1 Joey Logano … 113 laps

2 Brian Scott … 113 laps

3 Austin Dillon … 113 laps

4 JJ Yeley … 113 laps

5 Joey Gase … 113 laps

6 Chris Buescher … 113 laps

7 Elliott Sadler … 113 laps

8 Ty Dillon … 113 laps

9 Regan Smith … 113 laps

10 Aric Almirola … 113 laps

11 Landon Cassill … 113 laps

12 Jeffrey Earnhardt … 113 laps

13 Benny Gordon … 113 laps

14 David Starr … 113 laps

15 John Wes Townley … 113 laps

16 Boris Said … 113 laps

17 Jeremy Clements … 113 laps

18 Peyton Sellers … 113 laps

19 Mario Gosselin … 113 laps

20 Darrell Wallace Jr. … 113 laps

21 Eric McClure … 113 laps

22 Dakoda Armstrong … 113 laps

23 Blake Koch … 113 laps

24 Cale Conley … 113 laps

25 Ross Chastain … 111 laps

26 Derek White … 111 laps

27 Mark Thompson … 111 laps

28 Brennan Poole … 110 laps

29 Ryan Sieg … 107 laps

30 Erik Jones … 105 laps

31 Daniel Suarez … 101 laps

32 Ryan Reed … 99 laps

33 Kasey Kahne … 98 laps

34 Mike Bliss … 98 laps

35 Chad Boat … 97 laps

36 Harrison Rhodes … 84 laps

37 Chase Elliott … 84 laps

38 Kenny Wallace … 72 laps

39 Brendan Gaughan … 72 laps

40 Charles Lewandoski … 3 laps

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Goodyear tire info for Pocono, Iowa

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All three NASCAR premier national series are in action this weekend, with the Cup Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Pocono Raceway and the Xfinity Series will be at Iowa Speedway.

Although Pocono is 2 ½ times larger than last weekend’s race at New Hampshire’s “Magic Mile,” both tracks share similarities, including relatively little banking, and teams often use left-side air pressures as a tuning tool to gain grip as the cars transition from the corners to back on the throttle onto Pocono’s long straightaways.

And because Cup teams just raced at Pocono eight weeks ago on the same tire set-up and downforce package, there will not be any changes in the tires and teams should have plenty of data from the previous June 2 race at the Tricky Triangle.

Pocono is always a challenge on both the teams and the tires,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing. “Being pretty flat with long, fast straightaways and three distinct corners, teams will try to gain grip however they can, including going below our recommended air pressures, most specifically on the left-side of the car.

We integrated construction updates on both the left- and right-side tires for the June race, so since the Cup cars have already run at Pocono with this higher downforce package, they have a head start on what to expect with their set-ups this weekend.”

Cup cars will run the same combination of left- and right-side tires that they ran at Pocono in June. For the Trucks, these are two new Goodyear tire codes, featuring construction updates on both sides of the truck compared to what was run at Pocono in 2018. As on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners on all four tire positions at Pocono. Air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.

Here’s the Cup and Truck tire info for the weekend.

Tire: Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials

Set limits: Cup: 3 sets for practice, 1 set for qualifying and 7 sets for the race (6 race sets plus 1 set transferred from qualifying or practice); Truck: 4 sets for the event.

Tire Codes: Left-side — D-4870; Right-side – D-4876

Tire Circumference: Left-side — 2,227 mm (87.68 in.); Right-side — 2,241 mm (88.23 in.)

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front — 18 psi; Left Rear — 18 psi; Right Front — 41 psi; Right Rear — 37 psi

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As for Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Iowa, this is the same tire set-up that the Xfinity cars previously ran at Iowa in June. The left-side tire code is the same that Xfinity teams ran at Phoenix in March.

To prepare for the 2019 season, Goodyear held a tire test with Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick at Iowa on April 16-17. Also, as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Iowa.

Here’s the Xfinity tire info for the weekend.

Tire: Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials

Set limits: 6 sets for the event

Tire Codes: Left-side — D-4864; Right-side – D-4884

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front — 16 psi; Left Rear — 16 psi;

Right Front — 36 psi; Right Rear — 34 psi

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Ryan: Why pit strategy still isn’t so simple in the year of track position

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LOUDON, N.H. – It was a track position race held at a notorious track position-dependent oval during a season that has been dominated by incessant discussions about track position.

Yet when the outcome of Sunday’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway essentially was decided when the yellow flag flew for the last time, only three of 18 lead-lap cars made the ultimate track position move – skipping a pit stop to gain positions or at least avoid losing them.

It put Kevin Harvick in the lead for good. It put Erik Jones in second.

And it stunned their crew chiefs, who both were borderline incredulous about their brilliant calls.

“Is no one watching these races and seeing how this is going?” Chris Gayle, crew chief for Jones, asked rhetorically after the No. 20 Toyota driver hung on for a third place that solidified his playoff bid. “That’s what I’m thinking (while watching the last pit stops). Everybody’s scared to make that mistake it seems like.

“And I’m sure being aggressive, we can make a mistake, so I don’t want to be too cocky about it because it can bite you at any time. Because a lot of the strategy works or doesn’t work depending on how many guys do it with you.”

Rodney Childers, crew chief for Harvick, figured his call would fall in line with several lead-lap cars. He was astonished when the No. 4 Ford inherited the lead when Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski all pitted.

“When we went green with 80 to go, we had already decided if there’s another caution we’re not going to pit unless we get shuffled back to eighth or ninth,” Childers said. “When I told him to stay out, I honestly thought we would restart somewhere in the first two rows, and then everybody pulled in and we’re sitting there the leader when he comes into sight, and I’m like, ‘What in the world?’

“But anyway, you just don’t ever know when that’s going to work out.”

In this case, though, there was 265 laps of evidence to support the call by Childers and Gayle.

To the chagrin of drivers who fell back with strong cars such as Kyle Busch (watch this video) and Hamlin (“Track position, holy cow. It’s just amazing how much we’re talking about track position on short tracks”), passing was as much at a premium as ever on New Hampshire’s flat 1.058-mile oval, whose slick surface already had put five drivers in backup cars before the race.

While staying on track might have been less of a gamble with a car as fast as Harvick’s, strategy calls for track position had been working throughout the race – starting with Gayle’s decision to vault Jones into the lead with two tires on his first pit stop under yellow on Lap 48.

Only one other driver (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) opted for two tires. That again surprised Gayle, who had studied how well two right-side tires had worked in the race last season (when passing arguably had been easier).

“I expected to see 10 guys come take right sides with me,” Gayle said. “At the end, I was on the fence with the last call. I had in my mind, less than 20 (laps) to go, I’m definitely staying out. I was in that middle zone where tires might matter, but in the end, I kind of left it up to Jones. We were talking for a little bit on the radio. I’m 50-50, but if we get in the front row, I’ll stay.”

The third driver to stay on track was Martin Truex Jr., who vaulted from 10th to third and hung on for sixth.

Why weren’t there more takers when conventional wisdom suggests doing the opposite of the leader on pit strategy during a yellow flag with a late short run on a shorter track such as NHMS?

It seems as if there is a trend toward conservatism among the current group of crew chiefs, perhaps driven by the fact that more than half of them have engineering degrees and largely empirical worldviews. New Hampshire was reminiscent of the April 16, 2018 race at Richmond Raceway, where all 16 lead-lap cars pitted during a yellow with 10 laps remaining.

Tire wear factored heavily into those decisions, which is what made Sunday in Loudon even more perplexing. Hamlin alluded to wishing “tires actually meant something. They don’t right now.”

But that apparently doesn’t make the strategy much easier because it causes greater divergence on pit sequences.

“These races are the hardest to call of any of my career,” said Childers, a 15-year veteran of Cup. “The tires don’t seem to wear as much. They don’t seem to fall off as much.  It gives everybody a lot of opportunity to do different things.

“So even when you think that you’ve got it right and you put four tires on, you think you’re in the right spot and then a caution comes out and somebody else can put two on or somebody can stay out, it just keeps shuffling.”


Two days before Harvick delivered the first victory of 2018 to Stewart-Haas Racing, teammate Clint Bowyer offered an intriguing analogy for why the organization had struggled with adapting to the lower-horsepower, high-downforce rules after enjoying its best season yet with the 2018 debut of the Mustang (all four SHR drivers won last year).

“The game’s changed – literally,” Bowyer said. “It would be like taking a baseball game and making the fence shorter and use a different bat and different ball size. The game has changed.

“You have to adjust to that game. When those rules change drastically the way they do, look at the timeframe of when it happened. You spend the better part of two years developing a Mustang for a certain game, and all of a sudden that game changes, and it’s, ‘Oh, we built that bat for that ball!’”

After Harvick’s win, SHR vice president of competition Greg Zipadelli said, “I don’t think anybody should think that we’re where we need to be.

“I think it’s been a humbling year for all of us, and I think it’s been a frustrating year, obviously after the Cinderella year that we had last year. Our stuff fired off really good the beginning of the year, and we honestly didn’t anticipate anything less than that this year. But you know, in sports that’s not always the case.”


Generational strife was a major theme of the weekend at New Hampshire, punctuated by the terse conversation between Paul Menard and Harrison Burton after Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.

But it also tied into Harvick’s notable quote that “if you drove like this 10 years ago, you’d have a fist in your mouth.” He meant the blocking and side-drafting necessitated by this season’s mostly full-throttle racing (which keeps cars more tightly bunched together).

A case could be made, though, that the shifting styles also have been borne of the new attitudes and philosophies from Millennial-age drivers and younger.

As Denny Hamlin told The Athletic’s Jeff Gluck, he sees the current era of aggressive driving beginning with Brad Keselowski, who drew the ire of many Cup veterans by refusing to yield during his first partial season in Cup 10 years ago and stayed true to being anti-establishment as the north star of his NASCAR career. When he won the championship in 2012, Keselowski was accused by Tony Stewart of “having a death wish” for racing Jimmie Johnson too hard at Texas Motor Speedway (which Keselowski recalled during this 2014 interview).

Between Keselowski and Joey Logano (see the 2015 playoffs and his 2018 win at Martinsville over Martin Truex Jr.), Team Penske’s longtime duo have done as much to reshape the mores of hard driving over the past decade – and it’s mostly been for the good.


Speaking of young drivers, kudos to the trio of early 20something Xfinity championship contenders who persistently field questions about their futures with a cheery attitude.

Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick still have no clarity on their rides for the 2020 season, and they will continue being asked about it (as they were last Friday at New Hampshire) until their plans are finalized.

It seems increasingly likely that all three of them will advance to Cup next season (“it would be a hell of a rookie battle,” Bell said). Based on the manner in which they have deftly handled speculation that can be annoying (at best) and distracting, Bell, Custer and Reddick seem ready for the leap.


Though he still might lack a Cup championship, Hamlin has his NASCAR peers beaten in another department: Candor.

It’s hard to imagine another modern-era driver second-guessing himself as much as Hamlin did while speaking to reporters for 10 minutes after New Hampshire in a richly detailed and insightful explanation of how he gave away the win to Harvick.

It was a fascinating window into the thought process of an elite driver, and it wasn’t the first time that Hamlin has been willing to be so forthright about a topic that another star might find too emotionally charged or personally humiliating to address (his breathtaking honesty about the No. 11 team giving the best pit stall to a teammate last year also comes to mind).

As much as the last-lap battle with Harvick was compelling, it also was Hamlin’s unflinching dissection that gave it major legs for Monday morning analysis – even if it came at his own expense.

NASCAR penalty report after New Hampshire

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Two Xfinity Series crew chiefs were fined for rules violations in this week’s NASCAR penalty report.

Mike Shiplett, crew chief for the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford driven by Cole Custer, was fined $5,000 for improperly installed lug nuts.

Also Jason Burdett, crew chief for the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet driven by Justin Allgaier, was also fined $5,000 for improperly installed lug nuts.

There were no other penalties assessed in either the Xfinity or NASCAR Cup series.

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Know NASCAR? Try the NBC Sports Predictor app

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Chase some money on the NBC Sports Predictor app as you enjoy NASCAR racing on the NBC Sports networks this season.

Just last week a fan made all the right predictions for the New Hampshire Cup race and won $30,000.

Download the app, sign up and then play each week the rest of the season. Need a little help? Watch the video above where Nate Ryan, Steve Letarte and Kyle Petty ID their picks for which drivers will finish in the top 10 at Pocono.

Here’s how to play NASCAR Pick ‘Em:

  • For each race stage, pick the driver that will have the best finish from a group of four drivers.
  • Then, out of the entire field, pick which drivers will finish the race in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place – in exact order.

Fans who earn a perfect score will win (or split if multiple users) the jackpot. If there are no perfect scores one week, the $10,000 jackpot rolls over to the next race, making that jackpot $20,000, then $30,000, and so on. Once a jackpot is won, the jackpot will reset to $10,000 for the following contest. In addition, each week there will be $1,000 in guaranteed prizes split among users with the top scores.

This is the third game to be released on the NBC Sports Predictor app. In February, NBC Sports debuted “Golf Pick ‘Em,” after launching the app with “Premier League Pick ‘Em in December.

Each player must be at least 18 years or older. Other restrictions may apply.