Joey Logano avoids “yellow fever,” wins at N.H. to advance in Chase


Today’s Challenger Round race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup was essentially two races in one.

In the first 170 laps of the Sylvania 300, there were only two cautions. In the final 130 laps, there were 13 of them.

But somebody had to survive the second-half chaos, and that somebody was Joey Logano. The Connecticut native nailed two late restarts, including one in green-white-checkered, to win today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and join Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski in the Contender Round.

Logano pitted with 54 laps to go in regulation and took four tires, knocking him out of the Top 10. But that call proved to be the right one.

After returning to the Top 10, he jumped from sixth to third on a restart with 40 to go. He then passed Kevin Harvick for second position and later took the lead off another restart with 28 laps to go.

But it was far from over. With nine laps left, Jeff Gordon cut a right-front tire and slammed into the wall to bunch up the field again. Then on the ensuing restart with four to go, Tony Stewart spun out to force the race into G-W-C.

In the first attempt, Kyle Larson was able to get past Harvick for second. But by the time that the talented rookie had moved to P2, Logano had pulled away to an insurmountable lead.

“I thought we gave it away at that point, but the four tires were good,” Logano told ESPN about the critical pit stop with 54 to go. “We got good restarts and we were able to get ourselves back up there.”

The win is also doubly special for Logano since it came at what he considers his home track. He won his first Cup race at NHMS in 2009, but that was a rain-shortened affair.

Today, it was clear that Logano considers today’s triumph at Loudon more satisfying.

“…This is the coolest place to win for me,” he said. “I can never pick a better race track to win on. I watched my first Cup race here when I was five, and while I won that other Cup race here, I just felt like I had to win one the right way. This means so much.”

Larson held on for runner-up honors ahead of Harvick, Jamie McMurray in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson in fifth. Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Brian Vickers rounded out the Top 10.

Meanwhile, the Chase took a dramatic turn as one championship contender after another fell victim to problems this afternoon. Some like Keselowski and Kyle Busch recovered from their issues; Keselowski, a spin on Lap 194, Busch, a chain-reaction incident on a restart on Lap 188.

Many others, however, did not.

Gordon’s crash relegated him to 26th at the checkered flag, while Busch and Denny Hamlin’s own crashes (Hamlin having his following an earlier fuel probe issue) forced them to swallow 36th and 37th-place finishes. A few managed to soldier on, though, particularly Matt Kenseth in 21st (crash, 31 laps to go) and Kasey Kahne in 23rd (he was in the Kyle Busch incident).

Today’s proceedings definitely ramped up the pressure for those trying to advance as the Challenger Round finale comes next weekend at Dover International Speedway. Here’s how the Chase Grid looks as of now:

1. Brad Keselowski – Advanced
2. Joey Logano – Advanced
3. Kevin Harvick, +41 points over 13th
4. Jimmie Johnson, +31 points
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr., +28 points
6. Kyle Busch, +28 points
7. Jeff Gordon, +21 points
8. Carl Edwards, +8 points
9. Matt Kenseth, +8 points
10. A.J. Allmendinger, +7 points
11. Kasey Kahne, +6 points
12. Ryan Newman, +6 points

13. Denny Hamlin, -6 points behind 12th
14. Greg Biffle, -6 points
15. Kurt Busch, -8 points
16. Aric Almirola -10 points

And here’s a run-down of how all 16 Chasers fared in today’s race:

1. Joey Logano
3. Kevin Harvick
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Aric Almirola
7. Brad Keselowski
8. Kyle Busch
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
13. A.J. Allmendinger
16. Greg Biffle
17. Carl Edwards
18. Ryan Newman
21. Matt Kenseth
23. Kasey Kahne
26. Jeff Gordon
36. Kurt Busch
37. Denny Hamlin

Texas starting lineup: Felix Rosenqvist back on pole; Scott Dixon qualifies second


FORT WORTH, Texas — For the second consecutive year, Felix Rosenqvist will lead the NTT IndyCar Series starting lineup to the green flag at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Arrow McLaren driver is hoping the third time will be the charm at the 1.5-mile oval, where he has run extremely well but has only a career-best 12th in five starts.

“We’ve always been good here, but this is a whole different confidence level compared to last year,” Rosenqvist told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “Let’s try to wrap it up (Sunday).”

In 2020, Rosenqvist was competing for a podium when he crashed with 10 laps remaining at Texas.

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for speeds from Saturday’s time trials

INDYCAR AT TEXASSchedule, start times, how to watch on NBC, Peacock

Last year, he started first on an oval for the first time in his career but finished 21st because of a broken halfshaft.

“It’s definitely one of my favorite tracks, and naturally, I’ve always been OK here,” Rosenqvist said. “It was the first oval that made sense to me. Every year I’m building on that. But looking at the results, they don’t represent the speed I normally have.

“I don’t want to jinx anything, but I hope tomorrow is going to go a bit better and some luck our way would be nice. It’s been feeling super good. Arrow McLaren has been mega every session, so just keep it rolling.”

Arrow McLaren qualified all three of its Chevrolets in the top five, building on a second for Pato O’Ward and fourth for Alexander Rossi in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The March 5 season opener was a disappointing start for Rosenqvist who was squeezed into the wall by Scott Dixon on the first lap.

Dixon, a five-time winner at Texas, will start second Sunday, followed by Rossi and Josef Newgarden. O’Ward will start fifth alongside Takuma Sato, who will start on the outside of the third row in his Chip Ganassi Racing debut.

During nearly four hours of practice and qualifying (including a special high-line session), Saturday’s lone incident involved Conor Daly.

The Ed Carpenter Racing driver spun three times but stayed off the wall and in the frontstretch grass. Aside from a front wing change and new tires, there was no damage to his No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet during the incident midway through the 30-minute session in which drivers were limited to the high line.

“I hadn’t really had a moment before, but it snapped really aggressively,” Daly told NBC Sports after final practice. “Not ideal, but I do know my way around correcting a spin it seems like. I drove NASCAR last weekend and that seemed to help a little bit. I drove in the dirt a lot in USAC Midgets and seemed to be able to save something but not ideal or what we wanted to have happen.”

Daly will start 25th of 28 cars alongside teammate Rinus VeeKay in Row 13. Carpenter qualified 18th.

“Our three of our cars were clearly looking for something. Mechanical grip is for sure what we need. Qualifying we actually expected to be a lot better, but we found an issue there. We’ll see what happens. This race can change a lot. I’m confident in the team to hopefully figure some things out for tomorrow.”

Here’s the IndyCar starting lineup for Sunday’s PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway (qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine and speed):


1. (6) Felix Rosenqvist, Dallara-Chevy, 220.264 mph
2. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 219.972


3. (7) Alexander Rossi, Dallara-Chevy, 219.960
4. (2) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Chevy, 219.801


5. (5) Pato O’Ward, Dallara-Chevy, 219.619
6. (11) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 219.508


7. (10) Alex Palou, Dallara-Honda, 219.480
8. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 219.355


9. (18) David Malukas, Dallara-Honda, 219.256
10. (26) Colton Herta, Dallara-Honda, 219.184


11. (28) Romain Grosjean, Dallara-Honda, 219.165
12. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Dallara-Honda, 219.146

ROW 7 

13. (55) Benjamin Pedersen, Dallara-Chevy, 219.100
14. (14) Santino Ferrucci, Dallara-Chevy, 218.892


15. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Dallara-Chevy, 218.765
16. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Dallara-Honda, 218.698


17. (77) Callum Ilott, Dallara-Chevy, 218.427
18. (33) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 218.375

ROW 10

19. (78) Agustin Canapino, Dallara-Chevy, 218.367
20. (27) Kyle Kirkwood, Dallara-Honda, 218.227

ROW 11

21. (06) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 218.196
22. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 218.103

ROW 12

23. (51) Sting Ray Robb, Dallara-Honda, 217.676
24. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 217.611

ROW 13

25. (20) Conor Daly, Dallara-Chevy, 217.457
26. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Dallara-Chevy, 216.880

ROW 14

27. (45) Christian Lundgaard, Dallara-Honda, 216.210
28. (30) Jack Harvey, Dallara-Honda, 216.103