joey logano

Getty Images

Today’s Xfinity race at Chicagoland: Start time, lineup and more

Leave a comment

With Christopher Bell (four wins), Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer (three apiece) combining for 10 wins in the first 15 Xfinity Series races, will the song remain the same in Saturday’s Camping World 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway?

Or will another series regular earn the win? Or what about defending NASCAR Cup champion Joey Logano, making his first Xfinity Series start of the season?

Here’s all the info for today’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: Mauricio Rodriguez, representing Camping World, will give the command to start engines at 3:37 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 3:46 p.m.

PRERACE: Qualifying is at 12:05 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 1:15 p.m. Driver introductions are at 3 p.m. The invocation will be given at 3:30 p.m. by Michael White, Chaplain of Windy City Raceway Ministries. Josh Gallagher will perform the National Anthem at 3:31 p.m.

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

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

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will televise the race. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. with Countdown to Green. The Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 3 p.m. and also can be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for afternoon thunderstorms with a high of 86 degrees and a 40% chance of rain for the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Kyle Larson won this race a year ago and was followed by Kevin Harvick and Cole Custer.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Practice report for Friday’s Xfinity sessions at Chicagoland

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Defending NASCAR Cup champion Joey Logano was fastest in Friday’s second and final NASCAR Xfinity Series practice at Chicagoland Speedway.

Driving the No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang, Logano paced the field around the 1.5-mile oval at 174.554 mph. This is Logano’s first appearance in an Xfinity Series race field this season.

Tyler Reddick was second-fastest at 173.896 mph.

Cole Custer was third-fastest (173.879 mph), followed by Austin Cindric (173.874), Justin Allgaier (173.745), Noah Gragson (173.734), Ross Chastain (173.533), Brandon Jones (172.855), Zane Smith (172.706) and Ryan Sieg (172.315).

The start of the session was delayed by more than 30 minutes due to a lightning strike that occurred near the track, as well as a severe thunderstorm warning that was issued for the area due east of the track.

NASCAR held off on sending cars back on-track before the abbreviated 30-minute session began.

Click here for the speed chart from the second practice.

FIRST PRACTICE:

Tyler Reddick was fastest (174.916 mph) in Friday’s first Xfinity Series practice at Chicagoland Speedway. Reddick was nearly 2 mph faster than Cole Custer (173.182 mph), followed by Christopher Bell (173.044), Joey Logano (172.927) and Michael Annett (172.822).

Sixth through 10th were Ross Chastain (172.535 mph), Justin Haley (172.177), Chase Briscoe (171.985), Zane Smith (171.832) and John Hunter Nemechek (171.478).

With about eight minutes to go in the session, Chastain skimmed the outside wall but damage was very minor.

Overconfidence by the driver,” Chastain told NBC Sports. “Just a little too confident trying to run the top. So I have to learn and be a little bit better.”

Four drivers were penalized for various violations:

* The No. 28 of Shane Lee – 15 minutes for being late to inspection.

* The No. 42 of Chad Finchum – 15 minutes for being late to inspection.

* The No. 90 of Ronnie Bassett Jr. – 15 minutes for failing inspection twice.

* The No. 81 of Jeffrey Earnhardt – 30 minutes for being late to inspection and failing inspection twice.

Click here for the full practice speed chart.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Joey Logano on slump: ‘As soon as we figure it out, we’re going to be really fast again’

Leave a comment

Joey Logano is deep in the dog days of his season, but the Team Penske driver is making the best of it on the final off weekend of 2017.

Helping promote a canine-oriented initiative for a sponsor, Logano seemed upbeat in a phone interview with NBCSports.com this week about his chances of qualifying for the Cup playoffs.

With two races remaining in the regular season, it’s win or else for Logano, who is 117 points behind the current cutoff for the last playoff spot awarded via the standings.

“I feel like we’ve got to go,” Logano told NBCSports.com. “Obviously, we don’t have an option at this point. It’s nice to have an off weekend, regroup, catch our breath and figure out how we’re going to attack these next couple of weeks. We have to win. We have to make it happen one way or another.

“We’ve been in this position before. We’ve been put in this position that we have to win multiple times the last few years during the playoffs and we’ve been able to do it. It’s no different than that. We’ve just got to be ready to execute when the opportunity strikes.”

The opportunities have been infrequent since Logano’s April 30 win at Richmond (which was declared ineligible for playoff consideration because of a postrace violation). In 15 races since, his No. 22 Ford has only two top fives (third at Michigan, fourth at Indianapolis) and is riding a skid of four straight finishes outside the top 10 entering the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway next week.

Echoing some of teammate Brad Keselowski’s assessment, Logano believes Toyotas have found an edge mostly via aerodynamics with the 2018 Camry introduced this year.

“They’ve gotten an advantage because of the hard work they’ve put in,” Logano said. “They were very strategic about their new bodies, and they’ve made some good decisions about the way they developed them, and it’s obviously a rocket ship currently on the racetrack. They did a good job, they are getting rewarded because of it.

“Now it’s up to us figure out how we catch up. So I’ve got to focus on what makes our cars go fast.

“We can’t hide the fact that they’re faster than us. That’s apparent. We know that. We talk about it. We can identify certain areas that we believe they’re better. But at a certain point, you just have to do the work. You have to figure it out.”

Logano said it’s possible a breakthrough could happen at Darlington or the regular-season finale Sept. 9 at Richmond, but whenever the team makes gains, he expects it to last.

“Believe me, there’s plenty of work going into it, but as soon as we figure it out, we’re going to be really fast again,” he said. “However that happens, I don’t know. I know this team will figure it out. Team Penske has been around for 50 years winning races. They’ve been through downturns before. This isn’t the first time (team owner) Roger (Penske) has seen this. That’s why he’s not panicking. At the same time, we want to get fast as quick as we can, because this isn’t the position we like to be in.

“I feel like our team is going to get back there, hopefully it’s in the next few races. If not, we’re going to get back there before the year is out. Hopefully, we’re in the playoffs when it happens. … You’ve got to stay confident in your abilities and stay confident in your race team and their abilities and make sure you stick together and don’t start pointing fingers here or there. It’s win as a team and lose as team. It’s a lot easier to say that when you’re winning, but it’s very true. You need to be able to stick together in these times, that’s the only way you dig out of it.”

The focus won’t be on racing this weekend for Logano, who is relaxing with his expectant wife, Brittany, and also celebrating Saturday’s National Dog Day (his sponsor, AutoTrader, is commemorating the occasion by raising awareness of pet adoption with dog smell air fresheners and a list of the best cars for dog lovers).

The Loganos’ French bulldog, Luigi, has traveled with the couple since last year and will remain on the road after they welcome a baby boy in January (the couple detailed their struggles with achieving pregnancy in a recent interview with NBCSN’s Krista Voda). “The whole family will be riding together,” Logano said with a laugh. “We’ll take our kid around with Luigi. It could be a lot at times, but we’re going to give it a shot.”

Joey Logano says part failure caused crash; requests ‘Everyone pray for Aric’ Almirola

4 Comments

Joey Logano said a part failure caused the crash that sent Aric Almirola to the hospital in a violent wreck Saturday night at Kansas Speedway.

Logano lost control of his No. 22 Ford, hitting Danica Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet in the left rear. Patrick’s car spun into a fiery crash against the outside wall. Almirola’s No. 43 Ford spun into the aftermath of the crash, going briefly airborne as it made contact with both cars.

“I’m OK, I’m just saying prayers for Aric right now,” Logano told FS1 outside the track’s care center. “A lot of us took a hard hit. Something broke on my car. I don’t know what it was. I noticed it as I was going in (the turn). I tried to back off, but you’re going 215 (mph).

“It’s hard to check up. The car just took a big step sideways into the corner. I hooked Danica, and I don’t know what happened.”

The Team Penske driver then watched a replay of the crash.

“Oh my God,” he said. “Just out of nowhere. Everything was fine, then it just took a hard (hit).

“Everyone pray for Aric right now.”

After being cleared from the care center, Patrick also expressed concern for the Richard Petty Motorsports driver.

“I hope Aric’s OK,” said Patrick, who was eliminated by a wreck for the second consecutive race. “He definitely is feeling the worst of everybody. NASCAR has done everything they can to make our cars as safe as possible, but things happen. And his car looked the least damaged of all of ours.

“That’s what I said before I walked out, one of these times these accidents aren’t going to go good for me. They all are big. I’ve been very fortunate so far. One of these times it’s not going to go well.”

Austin Dillon starts from rear at Richmond; Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth penalized for swerving

Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
Leave a comment

RICHMOND, Va. — NASCAR announced several penalties from the Bristol Motor Speedway race weekend Friday morning.

The most notable punishment was to Austin Dillon, who will be held 30 minutes of practice, lose pit selection and start at the rear of Sunday’s race at Richmond International Raceway after his No. 3 Chevrolet failed the Laser Inspection System platform five times before the Bristol race.

Earlier Friday, Richard Childress Racing announced that Dillon’s crew chief, Slugger Labbe, would miss this race weekend at Richmond.

Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth are being held out of 30 minutes of practice at Richmond for swerving after the Bristol race. Last September NASCAR outlawed the practice of swerving to help put suspensions in alignment for postrace inspection.

Ty Dillon (15-minute practice hold, loss of pit selection for failing LIS three times) and A.J. Allmendinger (30-minute hold, loss of pit selection for four LIS failures) also were penalized for Bristol infractions. Aric Almirola also will be held out of practice for 15 minutes because template failures for failing inspection.

Five cars will be held out of practice for 15 minutes at Richmond for penalties were deferred from Texas Motor Speedway: Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Chris Buescher, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Kenseth will be held out 45 minutes total.