Can Logano re-ignite fading hopes for Chase?

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Joey Logano knows that he has a tall task ahead of him in staging a late run into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Winless so far in 2013, Logano sits 27 points out of the Top 10 with four “regular season” races remaining.

Considering the competition ahead of him, Logano is going to need a major rally to secure a Chase berth and admits that one more bad race would spell the end of things. But “Sliced Bread” is not ready to give up despite the situation.

“We have been solid through the season and there is no doubt in my mind we should be, like, fifth in points right now but the case is that we are not and we will keep working to get into the Chase,” Logano said on Friday after claiming pole for tomorrow’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

“We are a Chase-caliber team and I feel like even a championship-caliber team. We keep making our race cars faster. I am excited about that fact but I really want to get in the Chase and we have our work cut out for us right now.

“By no means are we out of it. I feel like we have a good shot and I like our chances to do it. We are one bad race from saying ‘We are out,’ though.”

Two races in particular have stuck Logano, currently 16th in the championship, in his current predicament. Going into the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona on the 4th of July weekend, he was 10th in the standings after he had gone on a run of five Top-10 finishes in the previous six races.

But a blown right-front tire sent Logano crashing into the wall at Daytona and saddled him with a 40th-place result. One week later at New Hampshire, another tire failure – this time, the left-rear – put him into the fence again and gave him another 40th-place finish.

Those two races sent Logano tumbling to 18th in the championship, and he’s been battling to get out of the hole ever since.

Power, Newgarden, Dixon fastest in first of 2 IndyCar practices today at Barber Motorsports Park

Photo: IndyCar
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Will Power was fastest in Friday’s first of two IndyCar practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park.

Power covered the 2.3-mile permanent road course in 1:07.5987 minutes at 122.488 mph in the 45-minute practice session.

Even though he spun off the course during his session, Phoenix winner Josef Newgarden still managed to be second-fastest (121.919 mph at 1:07.9141 minutes), followed by Scott Dixon (121.296 mph/1:082627), Max Chilton (121.251 mph/1:08.2882) and Ed Jones (121.215 mph/1:09.5692).

 

Sixth through 10th were Simon Pagenaud (121.208 mph/1:08.3122), Jordan King (121.113 mph/1:083661), Graham Rahal (121.059 mph/1:08.3964), St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais (121.029 mph/1:08.4131) and rookie Zach Veach (121.014 mph/1:08.4216).

Here’s the full speed chart:

Incidents:

* Early in the session, Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi ran off the track and into the grass, striking a small sign, but was able to get back on-track. However, Rossi was only able to complete 10 laps, relegating him to 20th-fastest in the 23-car field.

* Moments later, it appeared the rear brakes locked up on Newgarden heading into Turn 5, spinning him into the gravel trap. He was able to get going and returned to the pits for service and was back on-track with less than four minutes remaining in the session.

ALSO OF NOTE:

* The second practice session of the day will begin at 3:50 p.m. ET. A third practice will take part Saturday morning at 10:50 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The race, to be televised live Sunday on NBCSN, is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

* However, weather forecast does not look promising for Sunday’s race. As of 1 p.m. ET today, the forecast calls for 100 percent rain throughout the day.

* Dixon has had an incredible record at Barber Motorsports Park, with seven podium finishes in eight starts there. Except for one thing: he has yet to win a race there. But he does have five runner-up and two other third-place showings on the permanent road course.

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