Federated Auto Parts 400 - Qualifying

Joey Logano loses tire, hits wall, goes to backup car

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Joey Logano is now the second Sprint Cup driver that’s had to go to a backup car today for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 after a tire failure sent him into the wall during final practice.

Unlike Martin Truex Jr., who lost a left-rear tire before his primary car hit the Turn 1 wall, Logano suffered a left-front failure before he brushed the Turn 2 wall.

Unfortunately for the Team Penske driver, he’ll have to go to a backup and abandon his seventh-place starting position for Sunday’s event at Fontana.

Team Penske has a definite problem on its hands after Logano and teammate Brad Keselowski blew five tires during today’s two practice sessions. Keselowski, the Sprint Cup points leader, lost two left-rear tires during “Happy Hour” alone.

“We’ve got an issue for sure,” Logano said to Fox Sports. “We need to figure it out because we didn’t have this issue yesterday. We didn’t change much so we’re a little confused on that, and if anything, on that last run, we put air pressure in…Goodyear thinks it’s air pressure. I’m sure that’s some of it.”

In his own comments to Fox, Penske competition director Travis Geisler noted the technical changes made to the Gen-6 cars compared to when they visited Fontana one year ago.

“We’ve got a degree and a half more camber than what we’ve had here in the past – in the rear – with the new rules,” he said. “[We have] a little bit more downforce than what we’ve had last year. Obviously, speeds are up a little bit, so may be the loading condition’s a little higher than where we’ve been.

“I’m sure we’ll get it figured out. We’ll work with the guys at Goodyear, we’ll work with them closely on where they feel like things need to be. But we thought we made a pretty big step here just to be safe and had another issue. We’ll keep working on it and I’m sure by tomorrow, we’ll get it figured out.”

Penske wasn’t the only team that had tire issues during final practice, as Stewart-Haas Racing drivers Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick also had left-rear tire failures in the session.

Michael Waltrip Racing’s Brian Vickers was fastest in “Happy Hour” with a lap of 185.926 miles per hour in the No. 55 Toyota. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon were P2 and P3 respectively in the session.

Keselowski, despite his two tire failures, was fourth-fastest and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the Top 5.


NHRA: Alexis DeJoria brings free mammograms to Texas, Las Vegas races

DeJoria pink race car for breast cancer awareness month
(Photo courtesy Alexis DeJoria Racing)
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Some drivers see red when they’re behind the wheel of a 300-mph Funny Car.

But NHRA Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria is seeing pink in the month of October – and she’s proud of it.

DeJoria, who owns Alexis DeJoria Racing and drives the Tequila Patron Toyota for Kalitta Racing, is using the color pink to call attention to breast cancer awareness month in October.

DeJoria has partnered with Baylor Healthcare Systems to offer free mammograms to race fans attending this weekend’s AAA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex (Friday and Saturday) in Ennis, Texas.

She’ll reprise that role, partnering with Nevada Health Centers for the Toyota Nationals at The Strip in Las Vegas Oct. 30-31.

According to a media release, ‘”Mammovans’ (mobile mammography units) will be parked in the nitro pits of the racetracks, and free mammograms will be available on-site during both weekends to female ticketholders over the age of 40, regardless of whether or not they have health insurance.”

Those who seek to be screened do not need an appointment or referral. If you have health insurance, bring your insurance information to the race. Test results will be sent via mail approximately ten days after the event.

This year’s initiative continues a program DeJoria began three years ago when she launched the “Free Mammograms for the Fans” program.

Also, DeJoria will drive a hot pink race car in both events.

“I really want to thank the Patrón Spirits Company and Toyota for their support, as well as Kalitta Motorsports, everyone who bought items on our eBay fundraising page, purchased our pink Fight Like a Girl bracelets and made donations,” said DeJoria. “It all goes toward this very wonderful life-saving cause and we would not be able to provide this service to our fans without their support.”

Added Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales USA, “If we are able to save the life of so much as one mother, daughter, sister, wife or friend, it will be well worth our additional investment in our partners at DeJoria (Alexis DeJoria Racing). It truly is rewarding to be able to assist one of our race teams on a program that is so meaningful to so many people.”

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Sir Stirling Moss: Enclosed cockpits in open-wheel racing ‘ridiculous’

Sir Stirling Moss Getty
(Getty Images)
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While IndyCar mulls some type of enclosed cockpits or canopies in their race cars as early as 2017 to enhance driver safety, one racing legend scoffs at the notion that open-wheel racing should go down that path.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Sir Stirling Moss told Road and Track at the recent Lime Rock Historic Festival. “Motor racing is dangerous. And one does it – some of us do it – because it is dangerous. I was one of those. And I think to go and put forward things like that is absolutely ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.”

MORE: IndyCar CEO: No safety changes for 2016 car, despite Wilson death

It’s the opinion of the 85-year-old Moss that safety elements in one form of open-wheel racing – namely, Formula 1 – are as good as they can be at the moment.

“I think quite honestly, most events have good flag marshaling, which is very important,” Moss said. “The drivers know what they can do and they usually stick within their realistic limits.

“But of course, obviously, the sort of racing and etiquette you have on a circuit like this, or, a club circuit, is necessarily pretty different when you start talking Formula One.

“But, I think (danger) is part of the sport. I don’t think anybody wants to get hurt, but they’re all going to push themselves up to their limit, and that’s pretty good.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski