Joey Logano finishes third at Bristol after pitting from lead late

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If there’s one thing you don’t want to see in a NASCAR race when you’re leading with less than 25 laps to go, it’s a caution.

That’s what Joey Logano saw in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, eight laps after he took the lead from teammate Brad Keselowski.

Logano’s No. 22 Ford led when Kyle Larson brought out the caution flag after hitting the wall twice on Lap 478 of 500.

Logano’s team than had to make an important decision: pit or not pit?

“You know everyone is going to make their decision off of what you do,” Logano said. “If you stay out, you’ve got to expect half the field is going to pit, maybe more. If you come in, five or six stayed (out), so it’s just part of the game.”

While race winner Kyle Busch, runner-up Kurt Busch and sixth-place finisher Paul Menard remained on the track, Logano and the rest of the leaders pitted. Logano took four tires. Keselowski took two.

The race restarted with 14 laps to go, but with confusion on where Keselowski needed to line up.

As a result, Logano restarted seventh, but on the outside of a three-wide pairing of him, Keselowski and Austin Dillon

Logano was able to navigate his way into third position on his four fresh tires, but not fast enough to take a shot at the Busch brothers.

“It’s really hard to pass and by the time I got to third those cars were so far ahead of me I was stuck and was not going to get to them,” Logano said.

Keselowski took the blame for holding up Logano’s chances at the win.

“I screwed my teammate,” Keselowski told Fox Sports. “(Logano) had four new tires. We were all jumbled up like that and he was going to eat those guys alive and since we were so jumbled up, he didn’t get an opportunity, so I feel bad about that. It took two of the best cars that were in the race and took them out of it and handed it to Kyle.”

Logano’s third-place finish is his fourth top five of the year and follows miserable races for the No. 22 team at Martinsville and Texas.

Despite losing a chance at a third Bristol win, Logano won the second stage and led 146 laps, part of an effort by Team Penske to lead 344 of 500 laps.

“It stinks when you have the fastest car and don’t win, but it’s a team sport and it takes every piece to make it work,” Logano said.  “We had the car part figured out today, we just missed it on some other ends and just have to keep fighting hard. We got a stage win and that was nice, and led a lot of laps, but you want to win at Bristol so bad. Bristol is the coolest track. You see the start-finish line and think you’re going to get it, but things happen quick here.”

NASCAR mourns Kobe Bryant

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Joining their brethren in other sports, the NASCAR world took to social media upon learning the tragic news of the death of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, killed Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Bryant had met a number of NASCAR drivers in his career, including Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano. They were among a number of NASCAR notables who took to social media to mourn Bryant:

 

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Chad Knaus and wife expecting second child

Photo courtesy Brooke Knaus official Instagram account
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Seven-time NASCAR Cup champion crew chief Chad Knaus and wife Brooke are expecting their second child.

Brooke made the announcement Saturday on her Instagram account.

The couple, already parents to one-year-old son Kip, will soon be adding a daughter to their growing family.

Brooke Knaus’s Instagram post said the baby is due in July.

Kip figured prominently in the baby revelation, coming at the end of mom and dad’s ski run while vacationing in Telluride, Colorado:

 

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Kyle Larson flips, misses finals of Australia’s biggest sprint car race

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Kyle Larson’s hope of following up last week’s Chili Bowl win with a triumph in Australia’s prestigious Grand Annual Sprint Car Classic fell far short Sunday.

Larson’s bid to race his way into the 24-car finals of the three-day race at Premier Speedway in Warrnambool, Australia, ended when he flipped (uninjured) on the opening lap of a last-chance qualifying heat race earlier in the evening.

Instead of being one of the featured drivers in the Classic’s 40-lap finale – the largest and most popular sprint car race of the year in the land down under – Larson was left to watch the event from the pits and cheer on Dyson Motorsport teammate and fellow American Carson Macedo.

Even that didn’t go very well, as Macedo flipped his own sprint car on the first lap of the Classic, resulting in a last-place finish. The highest finishing American was Cory Eliason, who ended up fourth.

Meanwhile, it was an all-Australian podium, with James McFadden winning the Classic for the second time in his career, followed by James Veal and Kerry Madsen.

In eight days, Larson went from capturing what he called the biggest win ever of his racing career on all levels – the Chili Bowl in his 13th try last Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma – to nothing but bad luck and utter frustration throughout his Australian journey.

Larson’s first race on Wednesday in the King’s Challenge at Borderline Speedway was rained out.

Then, in the first night of the Classic on Friday, Larson wrecked heavily in his first heat race, including flipping (he was uninjured). After his team repaired his car, Larson went back on the track, only to suffer a blown engine that knocked him out of contention to race in that evening’s feature event.

After not being on the schedule to race in Night 2 of the Classic on Saturday, Larson had one last chance to make Sunday’s featured championship event.

A total of 80 drivers battled it out in the B, C and D Mains for the eight remaining spots in the A Main, but Larson would end up not being one of those — as can be seen in the second line of the following tweet by his team:

Larson now returns to the United States to prepare for the Daytona 500 on February 16.

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Kyle Busch feeling like ‘the new guy’ during his Rolex 24 debut at Daytona

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Kyle Busch was looking forward to his first stint at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The two-time Cup champion was less enthused about his second turn behind the wheel in the IMSA season opener. Busch will climb back into the No. 14 Lexus RCF GT3 at 2 a.m. Sunday, just past the midpoint of the endurance race classic at Daytona International Speedway.

“That’s going to suck, yeah,” Busch deadpanned. “That’s exactly when I told them I did not want to run, and I got it.  Thank you very much.

“(I’m) the new guy.  I pulled the short straw.”

Click here to read more about how Busch felt about his AIM Vasser Sullivan car.