Joey Logano thinks wreck will happen in ‘Dega knockout qualifying

1 Comment

Could The Big One come a day early? Joey Logano believes that it could.

In order to keep advancing through tomorrow’s Sprint Cup qualifying rounds at Talladega Superspeedway, drivers will likely have to deal with the draft and the packs that they’ll see again in Sunday’s main event, the Aaron’s 499.

And Logano, the most recent Sprint Cup race winner,  feels that a crash is inevitable.

“I think there will be a wreck within this qualifying session just because [of] the closing rate you’re gonna be catching some of these guys,” said Logano this morning at ‘Dega.

“For guys in the middle of the race track and then you’re going to the bottom, he decides he wants to get out of the way and goes to the bottom – oh, shoot, you’re gonna get in a crash.

“So you’ve got to be on your toes throughout the whole session. I think as each session goes it’s gonna get a little bit calmer because obviously there are gonna be less cars out there.”

‘Dega will utilize the three-round knockout format. Round 1 will last for 25 minutes, and the 24 fastest drivers on single-lap speed will move on to the 10-minute Round 2.

The 12 fastest on single-lap speed from there go on to fight for the pole in Round 3, which will last for five minutes.

Logano said he intended to keep an eye on Nationwide Series qualifying (which goes off in about half an hour) to potentially gain more ideas on how to handle what could be a wild Saturday afternoon.

However, like just about everyone else in the garage, he didn’t know what to expect.

“I will say that we have a little game plan to work and try to make sure our cars not only stay safe but are able to go out there and post a good lap and just try to get through all of the segments,” he said.

“Our car is still the only car to get through every [qualifying] segment this year so far. That’s something to be proud of. This is the one real wild card because there’s a good chance the fastest car may not get the pole this week. That’s gonna be something very different. There’s a lot of strategy that’s gonna go into this.”

Excluding the Daytona 500 (which only has qualifying for the front row and the Duels to set the remainder of the field) and Richmond (whose qualifying was rained out), Logano has an average start of 4.1.

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

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

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.

Follow @JerryBonkowski