Joey Logano goes for Texas sweep, berth in Sprint Cup title race this weekend


Team Penske’s Joey Logano has won twice and notched six Top-5 finishes in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup.

He also currently sits in one of the four advance positions to the Championship Race at Homestead.

So as he returns to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend for the middle race of the Eliminator Round, he’s not looking to alter his approach.

“We’re gonna stay doing what we’ve doing, what we’ve done all year even before the Chase started,” said Logano, who won at Texas this past spring in green-white-checkered.

“We’ve raced the same way, we’ve raced aggressive. We’ve put ourselves in offensive mode no matter what the situation was. We saw that again last weekend [at Martinsville] – took four tires with a green-white-checkered, restarted 13th, and…got up to fifth.

“That’s the mode we should stay in, because that’s what’s been working. It’s not the time to reinvent the wheel, just time to polish the wheel a little bit and make sure we keep doing what we’re doing – just do a little better job of it.”

Up by only three points over the cutoff going into Sunday’s AAA Texas 500, Logano recognizes the need to get another victory.

While another Top-5 finish would get him closer to the Championship Race, there’s no amount of points cushion in his mind that would make him feel good heading into next weekend’s Eliminator Round finale at Phoenix.

As proof, he cited Kyle Busch’s 26-point cushion heading into the Contender Round finale at Talladega, which was erased by a mid-race crash that caused him to finish 40th and miss the Eliminator Round by seven points.

“I thought Kyle would’ve been a lock before Talladega and then watching what happened to him – I don’t think you ever feel comfortable unless you’ve got a win under your belt,” said Logano.

“That’s why we want to get one of those…If not, you’re gonna be pulling your hair out all the way to the end of Phoenix.”

It’s an intense situation for sure, and it’s one that has become the norm with this new Chase format.

Since nobody wants to deal with a must-win situation in the elimination races, the importance of winning in the first two races of Chase rounds has become paramount.

However, Logano believes that all of the pressure has not affected him or the 22 team.

“Those guys going over the wall, you’re in position to win the race, you come down pit road, and one missed lugnut changes the whole outcome of the year – that’s pressure,” he said. “And I feel this whole 22 team has handled that great so far.

“I’m not nervous about it at all…Thinking about the pressure makes you more nervous, so that’s not really the right way to go. You just kinda focus on your race car and the job at hand.”

Ford unveils a new Mustang for 2024 Le Mans in motorsports ‘lifestyle brand’ retooling

Ford Mustang Le Mans
Ford Performance

LE MANS, France — Ford has planned a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its iconic Mustang muscle car next year under a massive rebranding of Ford Performance aimed at bringing the automotive manufacturer “into the racing business.”

The Friday unveil of the new Mustang Dark Horse-based race car follows Ford’s announcement in February (and a ballyhooed test at Sebring in March) that it will return to Formula One in 2026 in partnership with reigning world champion Red Bull.

The Mustang will enter the GT3 category next year with at least two cars in both IMSA and the World Endurance Championship, and is hopeful to earn an invitation to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The IMSA entries will be a factory Ford Performance program run by Multimatic, and a customer program in WEC with Proton Competition.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, also an amateur sports car racer, told The Associated Press the Mustang will be available to compete in various GT3 series across the globe to customer teams. But more important, Farley said, is the overall rebranding of Ford Performance – done by renowned motorsports designer Troy Lee – that is aimed at making Ford a lifestyle brand with a sporting mindset.

“It’s kind of like the company finding its own, and rediscovering its icons, and doubling down on them,” Farley told the AP. “And then this motorsports activity is getting serious about connecting enthusiast customers with those rediscovered icons. It’s a big switch for the company – this is really about building strong, iconic vehicles with enthusiasts at the center of our marketing.”

Ford last competed in sports car racing in 2019 as part of a three-year program with Chip Ganassi Racing. The team scored the class win at Le Mans in 2016 in a targeted performance aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford snapping Ferrari’s six-year winning streak.

Ford on Friday displayed a Mustang with a Lee-designed livery that showcased the cleaner, simplified look that will soon be featured on all its racing vehicles. The traditional blue oval with Ford Performance in white lettering underneath will now be branded simply FP.

The new mark will be used across car liveries, merchandise and apparel, display assets, parts and accessories and in advertising.

Farley cited Porsche as an automaker that has successfully figured out how to sell cars to consumers and race cars in various series around the world while creating a culture of brand enthusiasts. He believes Ford’s new direction will help the company sell street cars, race cars, boost interest in driving schools, and create a merchandise line that convinces consumers that a stalwart of American automakers is a hip, cool brand.

“We’re going to build a global motorsports business off road and on road,” Farley told the AP, adding that the design of the Mustang is “unapologetically American.”

He lauded the work of Lee, who is considered the top helmet designer among race car drivers.

“We’re in the first inning of a nine inning game, and going to Le Mans is really important,” Farley said. “But for customer cars, getting the graphics right, designing race cars that win at all different levels, and then designing a racing brand for Ford Performance that gets rebranded and elevated is super important.”

He said he’s kept a close eye on how Porsche and Aston Martin have built their motorsports businesses and said Ford will be better.

“We’re going in the exact same direction. We just want to be better than them, that’s all,” Farley said. “Second is the first loser.”

Farley, an avid amateur racer himself, did not travel to Le Mans for the announcement. The race that begins Saturday features an entry from NASCAR, and Ford is the reigning Cup Series champion with Joey Logano and Team Penske.

The NASCAR “Garage 56” entry is a collaboration between Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, and is being widely celebrated throughout the industry. Farley did feel left out of the party in France – a sentiment NASCAR tried to avoid by inviting many of its partners to attend the race so that it wouldn’t seem like a Chevrolet-only celebration.

“They’re going right and I’m going left – that NASCAR thing is a one-year deal, right? It’s Garage 56 and they can have their NASCAR party, but that’s a one-year party,” Farley said. “We won Le Mans outright four times, we won in the GT class, and we’re coming back with Mustang and it’s not a one-year deal.

“So they can get all excited about Garage 56. I almost see that as a marketing exercise for NASCAR, but for me, that’s a science project,” Farley continued. “I don’t live in a world of science projects. I live in the world of building a vital company that everyone is excited about. To do that, we’re not going to do a Garage 56 – I’ve got to beat Porsche and Aston Martin and Ferrari year after year after year.”

Ford’s announcement comes on the heels of General Motors changing its GT3 strategy next season and ending its factory Corvette program. GM, which unlike Ford competes in the IMSA Grand Touring Prototype division (with its Cadillac brand), will shift fully to a customer model for Corvettes in 2024 (with some factory support in the IMSA GTD Pro category).