Ryan: Does Joey Logano have Kevin Harvick’s number?


CONCORD, N.C. – Joey Logano wasn’t as willing to admit it, but when Roger Penske is deeming it the truth, it’s hard to cast aside the conclusion.

What was the biggest takeaway from Logano’s victory Sunday in the Bank of America 500, the latest in a disconcerting procession of humdrum processionals at Charlotte Motor Speedway?

While hugely significant to his sleeping habits, it wasn’t Logano’s advancement to the third round of the NASCAR playoffs (the Team Penske driver has been running well enough anyway).

And though Charlotte marks the first of four 1.5-mile ovals in seven races to determine the title, thumping the field as thoroughly as Logano did also wasn’t ranked first on Sunday’s list of achievements.

It’s much simpler than that.

It’s whom he beat.


“When you can beat (Kevin Harvick) any day, any time, that’s a big deal for us,” said Penske, the owner of Logano’s No. 22 Ford. “I think that it was good that we could at least be on a level playing field with him today.”

It hasn’t been just Sunday, though.

Charlotte was just the latest reminder that Harvick should be more worried about Logano than anyone in his bid for NASCAR’s first repeat title in five years. And not just because Logano led 227 of 334 laps while Harvick paced none, interrupting a blistering streak in which his No. 4 Chevrolet had opened the Chase by leading 581 laps in three races.

Since the green flag fell for the first time this season at Daytona International Speedway – and resulted in a postrace screaming and shoving match between Logano and Harvick a few hours later – no one has been a more persistent thorn in the defending series champion’s side.

In three of Logano’s victories this season – the Daytona 500, the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway and Sunday at Charlotte – Harvick finished second. In Logano’s fourth win, he chased Harvick into running out of fuel while leading on the final lap at Watkins Glen International.

If there is a confidence boost or mental edge to be gained, Logano naturally isn’t letting onto it.

He’d be too smart for that, anyway.

“There’s 42 other cars we’ve got to beat, too,” Logano said. “He has been the one that has finished second (three times). I think it’s just a coincidence.

“Obviously they’re a great race team, but a team like that has a week like they did last week, you’ve got to be able to pick up your game and hopefully be able to beat them and show that we’re here.”

Logano has let Harvick know he’s there many times this season, and it hasn’t always been behind the wheel.

When the season-opening Sprint Unlimited exhibition race ended in February with Harvick ramming him on the cool-down lap, Logano angrily confronted his rival in the pits.

Two days after Harvick’s clutch win last Sunday at Dover International Speedway, Logano took a subtle and dismissive dig in noting the Stewart-Haas Racing driver’s dominance was due partially because Harvick was “throwing Hail Marys, and it paid off.”

Translation: Harvick’s team completely showed its hand at Dover. My team hasn’t yet.

It’s the closest any driver will come to antagonizing or engaging Harvick, whose ongoing pursuit to master mind games is well documented. Look no further than Jimmie Johnson’s immediate attempt to extend an olive branch to Harvick (greeted by a glare and a shove) to assuage any ill will from their dustup in the Chase for the Sprint Cup opener at Chicagoland Speedway.

Harvick is fond of telling others he is planning to pound their cars into the ground (which drew a muted response from Joe Gibbs Racing).

The only replies to pound sand are coming from Logano.

Few have had more practice, of course, with being on the receiving end of Harvick’s manipulative verbal jabs like Logano. They intermittently have feuded for more than five years, and the barbs have been caustic enough to spur the sale of branded merchandise (after Logano said Harvick’s wife DeLana “tells him what to do and wears the firesuit in the family,” the couple turned the line into a popular T-shirt).

Last season, Harvick opened the championship news conference before the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway by tossing a 3-week-old allegations of blocking at Logano, who didn’t take the bait.

Sunday, it was Harvick who wasn’t biting after expressing frustration on his radio during the Bank of America 500 that Logano should have been black-flagged for accelerating early on the final restart.

“Whether he left early or not doesn’t matter at this point,” he said when asked about it afterward.

What mattered most Sunday to Harvick was that he didn’t win.

But whom he didn’t beat mattered, too.


NASCAR weekend schedule at World Wide Technology Raceway, Portland


NASCAR’s top three series are racing this weekend in two different locations. Cup and Craftsman Truck teams will compete at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, and the Xfinity Series will compete at Portland International Raceway.

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Cup and Trucks)

Weekend weather

Friday: Partly cloudy with a high of 87 degrees during Truck qualifying.

Saturday: Sunny. Temperatures will be around 80 degrees for the start of Cup practice and climb to 88 degrees by the end of Cup qualifying. Forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 93 degrees around the start of the Truck race.

Sunday: Mostly sunny with a high of 92 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the Cup race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 1 – 8 p.m. Craftsman Truck Series
  • 4 – 9 p.m. Cup Series

Track activity

  • 6 – 6:30 p.m. — Truck practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Truck qualifying (FS1)

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  — Cup Series
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series

Track activity

  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Cup qualifying  (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (160 laps, 200 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, June 4

Garage open

  • 12:30 p.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 3:30 p.m. — Cup race (240 laps, 300 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)


Portland International Raceway (Xfinity Series)

Weekend weather

Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 77 degrees.

Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high of 73 degrees and no chance of rain around the start of the Xfinity race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 6-11 p.m. Xfinity Series

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 10 a.m.  — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Xfinity practice (No TV)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)
  • 4:30 p.m. — Xfinity race (75 laps, 147.75 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.