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Joey Logano: ‘I’ve tried to treat everyone like they have COVID-19’

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With a recent uptick in positive test results for COVID-19 in parts of the country, NASCAR driver Joey Logano isn’t taking anything to chance.

“I’ve tried to treat everyone like they have COVID-19,” Logano said during a media teleconference Friday afternoon. “That’s at least my way of trying to stay safe.”

The philosophy works for Logano, which is significant partly because one member of Team Penske tested positive for the virus nearly a week ago, along with two employees of Stewart-Haas Racing.

There is also a reported increase of positive tests and hospitalizations in the Charlotte area, according to The Charlotte Observer.

“If you look at Team Penske, I can’t speak for all the teams, but they are very strict at how seriously they’re taking this virus,” Logano said. “Everybody in that place has a mask on all day long. If you get on a team plane, you’re (wearing a) mask and rubber gloves the whole time.

“They’ve done a really good job at that. If you look at who else they needed to quarantine after that, it’s a very small group because everybody has been so strict at Team Penske to where it doesn’t shut down our whole race shop.

“We’ve done a real good job social distancing where we can, but also wearing our PPE (personal protective equipment) all the time. That’s the most important things we can do.”

“Some of the best advice I’ve gotten out of this whole thing is assume everybody has coronavirus and what would you do? You’re obviously not going to shake someone’s hand, you’re going to stay a little more distant, you’re going to wear your mask, you’re going to wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer. You’re going to do that stuff.

“If you have that mindset that the person next to you has COVID-19, you’re going to obviously be nervous about it. So I’ve tried to treat everyone like they have COVID-19. That’s at least my way of trying to stay safe. Our sport has done a real good job at it and I think Team Penske has done even better, in my opinion.”

In another teleconference earlier in the day, Greg Ives, crew chief for Alex Bowman and the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE also spoke about precautions he and the organization are taking — particularly when teams are on the road at races — in light of the virus resurgence.

Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro of Alex Bowman. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“On an individual basis, you have to have those conversations with each guy that you have on your team,” Ives said. “From the comfort level of traveling to different areas. I’ve had that conversation with them.

“The other thing is, everybody at Hendrick Motorsports is taking this time seriously. When we are traveling to Pocono, how are we going to feed our guys and supply them with the food they need? It may sound trivial, but (one way is) not having them go to restaurants to potentially expose them.

“And we’ve come up with plans where basically we give them the meals they need so they are only going to one location. Making sure they eat at the track versus going out to somewhere else. Those types of things, even from how we are feeding the guys to how we are protecting them, is definitely very much important to not only myself, but everybody at Hendrick Motorsports.

“I feel like we’re doing it the best way, the safest way. For those that may feel uncomfortable in those scenarios or situations, we’re definitely hearing their voice and taking the proper protocol.”

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NASCAR community reacts to race postponements due to COVID-19

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A few hours before cars and trucks would take to the track, NASCAR announced the postponement of this weekend’s races in Atlanta and next weekend’s races at Homestead due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The announcement came with President Trump expected to declare a national emergency Friday afternoon.

Members of the NASCAR community took to social media to share their thoughts on an unprecedented moment in the sport.

NASCAR America’s MotorMouths at 5 p.m. ET: Harrison Burton, Greg Ives

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Today’s episode of MotorMouth airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Marty Snider hosts and is joined by Kyle Petty, Steve Letarte and Nate Ryan.

Harrison Burton, the newest winner in the Xfinity Series, will join the show via FaceTime. Greg Ives, crew chief for Alex Bowman, speaks with Dave Burns. We’ll also discuss Chip Ganassi expressing his displeasure with a video Denny Hamlin posted on social media after his incident with Kyle Larson on Sunday.

You can call into the show via 844-NASCAR-NBC or submit your questions/comments via Twitter using #LetMeSayThis.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Winners and losers from Las Vegas

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WINNERS

Paul Wolfe — Great call to have Joey Logano not pit before the final restart. Of course it helped that six other cars stayed out. Still, the top two cars came down pit road and Logano, running third, stayed out and won.

Matt DiBenedettoFinishes second in his second race with the Wood Brothers.

Jimmie JohnsonScored his first top-five finish since last summer’s Daytona race.

Bubba Wallace Decision not to pit allowed him to finish sixth, giving him his best Cup finish on a 1.5-mile track.

LOSERS

Todd Gordon and Greg Ives— For every high, there is a low. Gordon apologized on the radio to Ryan Blaney for calling him to pit road while leading before the final restart. Blaney finished 11th. Ives called Bowman to pit road while running second before the final restart. Bowman finished 13th. Ives tweeted that he was “VERY frustrated with my call at the end not to game on old tires, especially in Vegas.”

19 pit crew — Martin Truex Jr.’s pit crew got him into the lead under caution after Stage 2 but he had to return to pit under that caution to tighten loose lug nuts. Said Truex after the race: “We just need to quit having mistakes on pit road.”

William ByronLined up second on the final restart but contact with Matt DiBenedetto led to a tire rub and Byron falling back before he was involved in the crash that ended race. He finished 22nd.

Alex Bowman’s crew chief: ‘Any given Sunday’ approach with backup car

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CONCORD, N.C. — Crew chief Greg Ives has plenty of confidence in his driver and the backup car Alex Bowman will drive in today’s playoff elimination race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

“Junk doesn’t get built at Hendrick Motorsports,” Ives told NBC Sports and The Athletic Sunday morning. “There may be some small details that I don’t like, but nothing that we can’t fix and get right for today.”

Bowman, who wrecked with 35 seconds left in final practice Saturday, will start in the rear after having qualified second Friday.

He does so as he enters the race two points behind the final cutoff spot, held by teammate and pole-sitter William Byron.

More: Alex Bowman “not immediately worried” about Austin Dillon after Richmond run-in

Bowman will pilot the same car he had on every road course last year, which included qualifying third and finishing fourth in the inaugural ROVAL race.

When it comes to strategy, Ives has to “change it up, all of it up.

“Stage points are going to be hard to get. All race tracks, no matter where you go, it’s hard to pass. Starting at the back and going to the front is going to be hard. We’ll have to switch up our strategy … focused on Stage 2 points.”

Last year’s race winner, Ryan Blaney, who entered holding the final transfer spot, pitted during a caution on Lap 14. That allowed him to stay out when the field pitted at the end of stage 1 on Lap 25. Blaney moved toward the front and won stage 2, earning 10 stage points and also positioned him to win the race.

But does Ives believe his No. 88 team still has a chance to win?

“Any given Sunday, right?” Ives said. “I think we have the ability. We had the speed in our car. Alex was doing all the right things. Just had one corner, one bad thing happen.”

Ives said the timing of the incident in the final practice session Saturday is irrelevant.

“It doesn’t matter if it happened the first run on the track or the last run on the track,” he said. “You don’t ever question the driver’s ability and I don’t want him to question anything that I do. Our job is to react to whatever his needs are and his need was a new car.”

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