Joey Logano addresses NASCAR penalties: ‘We pushed a little too far’ – USA TODAY
USA TODAY Sports’ Brant James previews the upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.
USA TODAY Sports
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Despite being hit with major penalties by NASCAR this week, Joey Logano on Friday described his team as “the most professional organization out here” and said he and his teammates “will move on and attack again.”
A follow-up inspection of Logano’s winning car at Richmond International Raceway revealed an illegal suspension. NASCAR labeled the win as “encumbered” and penalized the team five playoff points, 25 regular-season points and $50,000. More importantly, crew chief Todd Gordon was suspended for two races, and the tainted Richmond victory can’t be used to qualify Logano for the playoffs.
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On the opening day of practice for Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Logano admitted that Team Penske was guilty of a rules infraction at Richmond but said the team was pushing the envelope to gain speed advantage.
“I think what happened was something that’s very, very small,” Logano said. “What we got in trouble for was something that really didn’t make our car any faster. I drive the car and I really don’t know what’s underneath it.
“The penalty is pretty severe. It wasn’t like a big thing, but the rule is written in black and white. We pushed a little too far. We’ll pay that penalty and move on.”
Logano said the loss of Gordon for Sunday’s race and next week’s event at Kansas Speedway is a major hit.
“Todd is a very big piece of our race team,” he said. “That’s something that’s very challenging. Losing playoff points is something that’s very big, as well. Losing 25 regular-season points that basically are playoff points in the first 26 races is tough. We’re taking the hit, for sure. It’s not going to be easy to overcome it.”
The silver lining, Logano said, is that the penalties “will make us more determined to make it happen. I think we can make up those points.”
He said the team’s approach won’t change. “We have to get as close to that edge as we possibly can to be successful and win races,” he said.
Paul Wolfe, crew chief for Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski, will also miss this weekend’s race as Team Penske continues to fight penalties imposed on the No. 2 team for a March 19 infraction at Phoenix Raceway.
Wolfe, who was initially suspended for three races, already sat out one race, at Fontana, Calif., but the team later appealed and has a final hearing scheduled for May 9. If the penalties are upheld, Wolfe would have to miss next weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway, but would be eligible to return later this month for the All-Star race and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
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