Logano on penalty: ‘We pushed a little too far’ – Nascar
RELATED: No. 22 team penalized after win
TALLADEGA, Ala. — Joey Logano heads into this weekend’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway minus his crew chief, minus 25 points and minus any potential playoff benefits that come with a victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Each is the result of an infraction involving the rear suspension of his No. 22 Team Penske Ford, the race-winning entry at Richmond a week ago. NASCAR announced the L1-level penalties Thursday following final inspection at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina.
“Losing Todd (Gordon, crew chief) is a very big piece of our race team and that’s something that is very challenging,” Logano said Friday morning at Talladega. “Losing the playoff points is something that’s very big as well, and then you think about the 25 regular-season points, that’s basically playoff points if you want to look at it that way. It’s a way to set us up at the end of this first 26 races of the way the playoff points are handed out. That’s a pretty big hit as well, so we’re taking the hit for sure and it’s not going to be easy to overcome it.”
Gordon, who has helped guide Logano to 16 of his 18 career wins, is suspended for two races — this week’s stop at Talladega as well as next week’s Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Team engineer Miles Stanley will serve as interim crew chief in Gordon’s absence. Greg Erwin, the former Roush Fenway Racing crew chief who now works with the Team Penske XFINITY Series program, will help call race strategy on Sunday.
The Richmond victory came in Logano’s 300th career start in the series and was his first of 2017.
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“The penalty is pretty severe,” Logano said. “With that being said, it wasn’t like it was a big thing, but the rule is written and it’s black and white. We pushed a little bit too far and we’ll pay the penalty … move on and attack again.”
In spite of the setback, Logano said there is a “silver lining.”
“I think this team has a great attitude and we’re able to obviously race very hard and we race aggressively … on the race track and off the race track and that’s why we’re successful and that’s why we win races.
“We’re going to continue to do that because we’ve got the right attitude to go out there and push hard and we’ll get through this little tough time without our crew chief, but we have a lot of depth at Team Penske.”
Stanley has “been with us for a while now and he knows me and we have a great relationship as well,” Logano said. “He knows the right questions to ask me to get the information out that he needs to make the adjustments, so is it going to be tough? Yes. Do I feel like we’re prepared as we possibly can be? Yes.”
Teammate Brad Keselowski is also working with an interim crew chief this weekend in Brian Wilson while Paul Wolfe serves the second week of a three-race suspension for a rules infraction at Phoenix Raceway earlier this season.
Sunday’s GEICO 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is the series’ 10th race of this year’s 36-race schedule.
Logano has won the last two fall races at the 2.66-mile speedway. He finished 25th in last year’s spring race.