Chase leader Joey Logano looks ahead to Sunday, talks Texas post-race fight


In his most recent visit to Phoenix International Raceway, Joey Logano converted a front-row start into a fourth-place finish this past March.

If he can do that again Sunday at PIR, he’ll be racing for the Sprint Cup championship next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Logano is tied with Denny Hamlin for the Chase lead with a 13-point cushion over the cutoff to advance. A finish of 11th or better for him on Sunday will make him one of the four drivers battling for the title in South Florida.

But while he knows what he must do, Logano says he has to push that out of his mind during the Eliminator Round finale and keep focused on the task at hand like he and the No. 22 Team Penske crew did last week at Texas.

Late in the running, a slow pit stop and a spin could’ve spelled disaster for Logano’s Chase hopes. But he was able to rally and finish 12th, which was enough to get him to the top of the Chase Grid.

“We didn’t finish where we wanted to going into the day, but after losing that many spots toward the end of the race and being able to come home 12th – all things considered – it was a decent day,” he said. “We’ll have to do the same thing here – go out there and try to win the race and roll with the punches no matter what happens. No pun intended (laughs).”

In Logano’s mind, the strategy remains unchanged: Be aggressive to get up front and stay there. However, with his points lead in mind, he acknowledges that there may be a limit to his aggression late in the race.

“Maybe we won’t go three or four-wide for the win knowing you may wreck,” he said. “That’s probably not worth it, but, at the same time, I think we have to stay on the attack mode throughout the race to keep our track position and make sure we’re up towards the front.

“We proved it last week because as soon as we lost track position we got hit in the door, we had a flat tire, and it just snowballed the wrong way. So you’ve got to be up towards the front to feel safe, so you’ve got to be aggressive to be up there in the first place.”

As for the latest imbroglio involving his Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski (-5 points behind cutoff), Logano said that he would be as good a partner as he can be to the beleaguered Michigander.

He also said it wasn’t his place to judge Keselowski or anyone else that played a role in the post-race scuffle at Texas, which ended with Keselowski and an angry Jeff Gordon in the center of a brawl that also involved their respective crews.

“You don’t really know the situation unless you’re in the situation yourself,” Logano said. “I wasn’t driving the 24 [Gordon] or the 2 car [Keselowski] last week. I don’t really know what happened. We can all watch the film as much as we want and say, ‘Oh, it looks like this happened or it looks like that happened.’

“We’re all gonna have different opinions and most likely, both drivers are not gonna have the same opinion either because we all have big egos here and we’re all right. That’s how we think, but deep down inside they probably know what happened.”

NASCAR has since penalized multiple crew members on the teams of Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, as well as their respective crew chiefs. All three drivers involved in the Texas fight – Gordon, Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick – escaped punishment of any kind.

Motocross: Chase Sexton to miss Hangtown after midweek practice crash

Sexton Hangtown practice crash
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Chase Sexton announced on Instagram he will sit out this weekend’s Pro Motocross race at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California after a practice crash on Tuesday left him with a concussion.

Sexton’s crash on Tuesday happened during a test session at Fox Raceway.

“Bummed to make this post but I’ll be sitting out this weekend,” Sexton said. “As you guys saw I had a big one during qualifying at Pala, then another one on Tuesday this week that banged me up pretty good. Nothing broken just need a few days to get back to 100%.”

Despite his crash in the first qualification session in Pala, California, Sexton mounted up for both motos and finished second in each race behind his teammate Jett Lawrence, who was making his Motocross debut and won with a pair of first-place finishes. Sexton padded his SuperMotocross points’ lead over the injured Eli Tomac, who is still second in the combined Supercross and Motocross standings despite missing the SX finale at Salt Lake City and the outdoor opener with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Sexton has an advantage of 78 points over Cooper Webb and cannot give up his SMX lead by missing this round.

At stake, however, is the risk of losing ground to Lawrence in the Pro Motocross championship. Sexton currently trails his teammate by six points and is liable to lose significant ground this weekend.

In addition to his concussion, Sexton has also been diagnosed with mononucleosis and the combination of the two conditions caused the team to make the difficult decision to keep him out of the lineup at Hangtown.

“I’m super-bummed to miss this weekend’s race,” Sexton said in a press release. “I feel like I rode well at Pala, and I was really looking forward to Hangtown because it’s a good track for me. Unfortunately, I was already pretty banged up from my qualifying crash on Saturday, and now with mono and Tuesday’s concussion on top of it, I want to do the right thing and hopefully be back on the track soon.”

A return date for Sexton has not yet been announced.

Other 2023 Injury News

450 riders
Eli Tomac, Achilles tendon | It was just a freak deal
Justin Barcia,
collarbone and shoulder
Jason Anderson, vertebrae
Christian Craig, elbow
Marvin Musquin, wrist
Malcolm Stewart, knee | Signs two-year extension
Aaron Plessinger, hip | returned at Salt Lake City
Dylan Ferrandis, concussion | Will not return until Motocross
Cooper Webb,
concussion | returned at Pala

250 riders
Nate Thrasher, hip
Stilez Robertson, leg
Cameron McAdoo, shoulder
Seth Hammaker, arm and wrist
Austin Forkner, knee | Injury isn’t the hardest part
Jo Shimoda, collarbone | returned at Atlanta
Jalek Swoll, arm | returned at Pala