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Joey Logano’s crew chief explains reason for penalty

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Crew chief Todd Gordon explained the penalty that led to his two-race suspension, saying a part was about 1/32 of an inch off after last weekend’s win at Richmond International Raceway.

NASCAR also fined Gordon $50,000 and docked Joey Logano 25 points and Team Penske 25 car owner points after Logano’s winning car from Richmond failed inspection at the R&D Center. NASCAR stated Logano’s win would not count toward playoff eligibility and he would not receive the five playoff points.

The team violated the rule that states “a pinion angle shim mating surface … must be in complete contact … at all times.”

Gordon was on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Friday to discuss the penalty and what’s next for the team.

“We take penalties with a lot of seriousness and try to identify how  that happened and where procedurally we missed and understanding the bounds of what has to happen to make sure we don’t have issues like this,’’ Gordon said. “We’ve been through that. There’s some investigations going on internally. I think we understand the direction that we need to go, and we’ll make sure we’re not putting ourselves in that situation anymore.’’

Team Penske announced Thursday that it will not appeal the penalty. Gordon will miss this weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway and next weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway. Race engineer Miles Stanley will serve as Logano’s crew chief this weekend. Greg Erwin, a crew chief in the organization’s Xfinity program, will help call race strategy Sunday.

Gordon said on “The Morning Drive” that there was a gap of about 1/32 inch between the pinion shim and the truck arm surface on the right truck arm.

Gordon explained what happened:

“In order for the suspension to actually move, parts have to bend. … If every part is infinitely stiff, the system won’t move. It needs to have something flexing. It’s a small amount of flex, but there are parts that move. Through 400 laps at Richmond and how many pit stops and pit road launches and restarts, things move a little bit.

“It was legal when it rolled across the NASCAR inspection platform to start with (before the race), and I would say just race loads and everything else, it became low enough in load that the back of the pinion gap opened up a 32nd of an inch.’’

Gordon also said: “If you look at our rear suspension … there’s not really a whole lot of tomfoolery that goes on to hide something like this. We don’t work that way at Team Penske, try to stay on the up and up and push the things to where we can. Pre-race, there was not a gap there.’’

Gordon noted that NASCAR rewrote rules regarding suspension pieces in the offseason “because everybody chases the skew word. That’s a hot topic within the garage. I think that’s one thing I’d like to point out. This is a right side truck arm. With the track bar being attached to the left side truck arm, most of all the pieces, at least from what I understand and maybe I’m missing some things, all the skew-related pieces are going to happen on the left side.

“This wasn’t anything that was pertaining to skew, that’s a word that everybody uses and that’s how the cars kind of run sideways down the race track, which helps them aerodynamically. We weren’t in that situation.’’

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Today’s Las Vegas Cup race: Start time, lineup and more

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One down and only 35 to go.

With the Daytona 500 now in the record books, the NASCAR Cup Series moves on to its second race of the season – and the start of the three-race western swing.

Can Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin make it back-to-back wins to start the 2020 season?

How about defending Cup Series champ Kyle Busch, looking for his second career Cup win in his hometown? What about older brother Kurt Busch, still searching for his first career hometown Cup triumph?

Here is all the info for today’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The 1980 U.S. Men’s Olympic “Miracle” hockey team will give the command to start engines at 3:37 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:46 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage opens at 11:30 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 1:30 p.m. Driver introductions are at 3 p.m. The invocation will be given by Motor Racing Outreach chaplain Billy Mauldin at 3:30 p.m. The National Anthem will be performed by Carnell Johnson at 3:31 p.m., followed by a flyover by four F-16 “Vipers” from the 57th Wing Adversary Tactics Group from Nellis Air Force Base at 3:32 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 267 laps (400.5 miles) around the 1.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 80. Stage 2 ends on Lap 160.

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race with coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s broadcast begins at 2:30 p.m. and can also be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The Wunderground.com forecast calls for sunny skies with a high of 68 degrees and a 0% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Joey Logano won this race last year, followed by teammate Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. Martin Truex Jr. won last September’s playoff race, followed by Kevin Harvick and Keselowski.

TO THE REAR: Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell will start from the rear after L1 level infractions in qualifying inspection. Garrett Smithley will also start from the rear due to three inspections failures.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.

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Rain postpones Las Vegas Xfinity race to 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday

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Rain has forced the conclusion of today’s Xfinity Series race in Las Vegas to be postponed until Sunday after the Cup Series race at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET. The race will resume on FS2.

The race had been red flagged since late Saturday afternoon, with the race paused on Lap 51 of 200, only six laps after Chase Briscoe won Stage 1.

The top 10 is currently scored as:

  1. Joe Graf Jr. (stayed out of pits)
  2. Chase Briscoe
  3. Austin Cindric
  4. Ross Chastain
  5. Brandon Jones
  6. Justin Allgaier
  7. Michael Annett
  8. Justin Haley
  9. Harrison Burton
  10. Brett Moffitt

Kevin Harvick, Gander RV CEO put up $100K bounty to beat Kyle Busch in trucks

Kyle Busch
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Kevin Harvick and Gander RV & Outdoors CEO Marcus Lemonis issued a bounty poster in tweet form Saturday.

WANTED: A full-time Cup Series driver to beat Kyle Busch in any of his remaining four Truck Series starts this year (without wrecking him).

REWARD: $50,000 each from Harvick and Lemonis.

The bounty comes the night after Busch won his seventh consecutive Truck Series race, which includes all five starts he made in 2019.

Saturday’s race was his first of five in the trucks this season. He’ll be back in the series March 14 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, March 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, March 27 at Texas Motor Speedway and May 30 at Kansas Speedway.

Busch won at Atlanta and Texas last year.

Busch himself didn’t seem too impressed with the bounty when told about it in the media center.

So what is in it for Busch?

If no full-time Cup driver is able to beat Busch in those four races, the bounty will be given to the Bundle of Joy Fund, the organization founded by Kyle and Samantha Busch that helps couples who require fertility treatments to conceive.

Lemonis wasn’t done there. Later Saturday night, he put another proposition out into the Twitterverse. If Fox Sports moved any of the races to prime time, he’d increase the purse among the top-five finishers to $250,000.

Needless to say, the original bounty got the attention of a few drivers, including Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin.

Disclaimer on the following tweet by Hamlin: As noted above, none of Busch’s remaining four truck races are at Richmond Raceway. But…..Richmond is the site of the first Triple Truck Challenge race on April 18.

Richmond’s track president, Dennis Bickmeier chimed in with his thoughts.

Las Vegas Xfinity race under red flag for rain on Lap 51

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Today’s Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is under its second rain delay and its first since the start of race.

The race was paused by a red flag on Lap 51, shortly after the end of Stage 1.

The race is official after the end of Stage 2 on Lap 90.

Joe Graf Jr is listed as the leader after he stayed out during pit stops.

The top five is completed by Stage 1 winner Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Ross Chastain and Brandon Jones.

The green flag for the race was originally scheduled for 4:16 p.m. ET. The finally waved at 5:48 p.m. ET.

The rain forced the cancellation of qualifying for Cup and Xfinity. The field was set by last year’s owner’s points.

If the race resumes tonight, coverage will be on FS2.

Check back for more.