NASCAR AMERICA: Is Joey Logano becoming the Chase favorite? (VIDEO)

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Last year, Joey Logano posted six Top-10s (and a win at Michigan) in the final seven regular season races to break into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

This year, Logano doesn’t need to worry about rallying from behind for a post-season berth. But he’s once again red-hot going into the Chase.

His win on Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway was not only his third Cup win of the year (Texas, Richmond), but also served as his fourth Top-5 and fifth Top-10 in the last five races.

Prior to Bristol, he had strung together a fifth at Indianapolis, a third at Pocono, a sixth at Watkins Glen, and another third at Michigan.

So after this run of success, should the rest of the world consider Logano and his No. 22 Team Penske crew as the favorites to win the Cup this fall?

The answer doesn’t really matter to Logano.

“We’re going to do what we’ve got to do,” he said after his Bristol win. “They can underestimate us. They can overestimate us. I don’t really care. We’re going to go out there and do the best we can, do what we’ve been doing.

“…They can think whatever they want to think, but I know inside, this 22 team, this whole 22 team feels like we’re contenders to win this championship.”

Fair enough. But that didn’t stop Rick Allen and Frank Stoddard of NASCAR AMERICA from wondering if Logano’s becoming the man to beat in the championship. You can check out their thoughts above.

‘Still quite early’ for Ricciardo to think about Red Bull F1 future

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Daniel Ricciardo feels it is “still quite early” to make a decision about his Red Bull Formula 1 future despite seeing teammate Max Verstappen announce on Friday he would be staying with the team until 2020.

Verstappen, 20, put pen to paper on an enhanced F1 contract with Red Bull, with his previous deal due to expire at the end of next season in parallel to Ricciardo’s own agreement.

Ricciardo was asked following practice on Friday why he is yet to strike a new deal for himself with Red Bull, and explained he is in no rush to make a final decision when he has over a year to run on his current contract.

“It’s not that I’ve said no to anything. It’s just still quite early I think,” Ricciardo explained.

“People talked a little bit about contracts and the silly season for next year, but I thought that would still happen next year. It’s still quite early.

“If I’m to try and extract some positives out of his news it’s that it gives us good confidence for next year. He and his management see a lot of positives in the team to continue like that.

“I’m 100 per cent here next year, I can at least say that, and I think it gives both of us confidence that we’ll keep progressing the way we are.”

Red Bull said upon announcing Verstappen’s new deal that it wants to “build a team around him”, with the 20-year-old standing out as a once-in-a-generation talent.

The focus surrounding Verstappen has not left Ricciardo feeling as though he is in the shade or in any way playing second-fiddle to the Dutchman, stressing he has no internal concerns at Red Bull.

“For sure, as far as media goes, he certainly gets a lot of attention. He’s broken records for his age and things like that, so rightly so,” Ricciardo said.

“Take the media out of it, as far as inside the team, new parts on the car, things like this, there’s always been parity and equality.”

Verstappen is only the third driver to commit to a deal beyond the end of next season, following Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari and Fernando Alonso at McLaren on multi-year contracts.

All 10 F1 teams have at least one free seat for 2019, making Ricciardo a possible candidate for seats with either Mercedes or Ferrari were he to consider a move away from Red Bull.

Speaking to British broadcaster Sky Sports, Red Bull F1 advisor Helmut Marko said he felt Ricciardo was “putting himself on the market” by waiting to make a decision on his future, but that talks would take place when possible.