Joey Logano, team thinking ‘outside of the box’ to catch Big 3

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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Joey Logano knows that he and his team need to be creative with their setups because he admits they won’t catch Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.if we don’t try something different.”

It is with that attitude Logano can look back on the 11 races since his Talladega victory and not be as concerned that he’s been the top-finishing Team Penske driver only twice during that stretch.

While Logano says his team hasn’t given up on winning, he admits they are trying different things to be better when the playoffs begin next month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“A majority of the time when you try something it doesn’t work, but maybe one out of 10 things you try does work and you’re able to make some gains,” Logano said Friday at Watkins Glen International. “I think just the mentality and the thought process has changed a little bit on how can we get faster for when we get to the playoffs because the speed that we have right now is not enough to win the championship right now. We have to get better, no doubt. 

“The only way I know how to get better is you have to try new things. You have to be willing to change as a driver, as a team with the setups, the way we build cars and the thought process.”

Busch, Harvick and Truex have combined to win 16 of the season’s 21 races, including the last three in a row. Logano, who is fourth in the points, has had mixed results with six top-10 finishes in the 11 races since his Talladega win. His best finish during that stretch is third at Kansas, the only top-five he’s had during that period.

Logano admits that with how much Busch, Harvick and Truex have separated themselves from the field, it has made Logano and his team consider more radical changes during this stretch.

“You have to think outside of the box and you have to use everything you have right now,” he said. “There’s not really any holding back. What you have for new pieces and parts and anytime you develop anything, it has to get on the car as quick as possible because we have to catch them. 

“I’m sure, you hope they don’t have more in the tank, but I’m pretty sure they do. If they’re as fast as they are now, I’m sure they have a little more left when it comes to playoff time, so we have to work really hard to keep trying to find this.”

Logano admits there’s enough data to see what Harvick is doing, but duplicating what Harvick can do is not as easy.

“We have all the data these days,” Logano said. “ ‘Oh, he’s doing this different as a driver. He’s doing that different.’ His car is allowing him to do that, where I do that and I can’t. My car is not allowing me to do that. So it’s a little frustrating sometimes because you can see it and you’re like, ‘Oh, I just have to do that,’ but you can’t do it.’  So you know what you’ve got to get to. 

“I guess it gives you a good goal and a good baseline to try to get off of. He’s driving a Ford as well, so we know it’s possible, we just have to get to that point. It’s a lot of trial-and-error to get there.”

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Monday Charlotte Cup race: Start time, TV info, weather

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After two days of soaking rains, the longest race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is set for a 3 p.m. ET start Monday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The 600-mile marathon was scheduled for a 6:21 p.m. start Sunday, but persistent rain forced a postponement to Memorial Day.

A look at the Monday Cup schedule:

Details for Monday’s Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 3:12 p.m. by USO official Barry Morris and retired drivers Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte. … The green flag is scheduled to be waved at 3:23 p.m.

PRERACE: Driver introductions are scheduled at 2:30 p.m. … The invocation will be given by retired Air Force Master Sergeant Monty Self at 3 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Elizabeth Marino at 3:04 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 400 laps (600 miles) on the 1.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 100. Stage 2 ends at Lap 200. Stage 3 ends at Lap 300.

STARTING LINEUP: Charlotte Cup starting lineup

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race at 3 p.m. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 3 p.m. and can be heard on goprn.com. … SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

STREAMING: Foxsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — The forecast calls for overcast skies with a high of 71. There is a 15% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Denny Hamlin won last year’s 600 as the race was extended to two overtimes, making it the longest race in distance in Cup history.

Monday Charlotte Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather

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Charlotte Motor Speedway’s rescheduled NASCAR Xfinity Series race is set for an 11 a.m. start Monday.

The race originally was scheduled Saturday, but was postponed by weather to noon Monday. After Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race also was postponed to Monday, the Xfinity Series race was moved to an 11 a.m. start.

A look at the Monday Xfinity schedule:

Details for Monday’s Xfinity race at Charlotte Motor Speedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 11:01 a.m. by representatives of race sponsor Alsco Uniforms … The green flag is scheduled to be waved at 11:12 a.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opened at 8 a.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 200 laps (300 miles) on the 1.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 45. Stage 2 ends at Lap 90.

STARTING LINEUP: Charlotte Xfinity starting lineup (Justin Haley will replace Kyle Busch in the No. 10 Kaulig Racing car).

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 11 a.m. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 11 a.m. and can be heard on goprn.com. … SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

STREAMING: Foxsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — The forecast calls for overcast skies with a high of 71. There is a 15% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Josh Berry won last May’s Xfinity race. Ty Gibbs was second and Sam Mayer third.

Justin Haley replaces Kyle Busch in Kaulig car for Xfinity race

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Justin Haley will drive Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 car in Monday morning’s scheduled NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Haley replaces Cup Series regular Kyle Busch, who was scheduled to drive for Kaulig in the 300-miler. The race was postponed from Saturday to Monday because of weather, giving NASCAR a 900-mile doubleheader at the track.

Busch decided to concentrate on the Coca-Cola 600 Cup race, scheduled for a  3 p.m. start.

Haley also will race in the 600.

Ty Gibbs is scheduled to run in both races.

Charlotte Cup race postponed to Monday by weather

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CONCORD, N.C. — All-day rain Sunday forced the postponement of the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Cup Series race to Monday.

The postponement means that Charlotte Motor Speedway is scheduled to host 900 miles of stock car racing Monday. A 300-mile Xfinity Series race, originally scheduled Saturday and first postponed to noon Monday, has been rescheduled for 11 a.m. ET Monday (FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Cup race is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. (Fox, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Sunday’s Cup race was scheduled to start at 6:21 p.m. ET, but light rain was still falling at that time in the speedway area near Charlotte. Rain intensified a few minutes later and, despite an evening forecast that showed slight improvement, officials decided at 6:30 p.m. to postpone the race.

Monday’s forecast calls for a 34% chance of rain at the start of the Xfinity race and a 30% chance at the start of the Cup race.

William Byron will start the race from the pole after qualifying was washed out Saturday night.