Joey Logano’s first Chase race ends early

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After leading early on in today’s GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, Joey Logano has seen his first-ever Chase race end via an apparent engine failure with 91 laps to go.

Logano, the youngest of the 13 Chasers this year and the pole sitter for today’s race, fell back dramatically around the same time the caution came out at Lap 148 for a spin involving Justin Allgaier. He communicated to his team that he felt he had lost a cylinder, but was ultimately able to keep going until his No. 22 Penske Racing Ford finally gave up the ghost with a cloud of smoke.

“It’s just somewhere in the valve train, it let go,” Logano told ESPN upon his return to the garages. “It’s a bummer for this team. They did everything we needed to do this weekend to give us a shot at this championship right off the bat – sitting on the pole, leading laps.

“We took four tires after the rain delay to hopefully cycle us up to the front and then we could take two the next caution like the 24 [Jeff Gordon] did. It would’ve worked out perfect, but something just let go on it. Nothing we could’ve done different.”

And with that, Logano’s margin of error in contending for a Sprint Cup title has effectively gone to zero. One mulligan isn’t completely lethal to a Chaser’s hopes, but a second one definitely can be.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.