Pit road setbacks are coup de grace for Joey Logano’s title hopes

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Like the rest of the Championship 4, Joey Logano was fast in tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title tilt at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

But toward the conclusion of the Ford Ecoboost 400, everything went wrong for the youngest member of the quartet that put it all on the line for stock car racing’s biggest prize.

A brush with the wall on Lap 182 ultimately caused Logano to lose second to eventual race and title winner Kevin Harvick.

Damage sustained in that incident led to his No. 22 Team Penske crew taking extra time to repair the damage under a caution at Lap 195. That had Logano slip from fifth to 10th.

Logano battled back to get up to fifth with 50 laps to go in the 267-lap race. But a dropped lug nut on a stop with 45 laps left knocked him down to 12th.

He once again rallied to sixth place before a debris yellow came out with 20 to go. During that yellow, Logano suffered what proved to be a lethal blow: His car fell off the jack while his crew was changing his left side tires.

A second jack was needed to complete the stop, and Logano tumbled to 22nd as a result. He would finish 16th, worst among the Championship 4.

“When you’re pushing hard to try to make 11-second pit stops or better, mistakes happen,” Logano said. “We can’t have that happen, obviously. We can’t afford to have a mistake like that. But without re-watching the tape, I’m not going to say it was pressure or whatever it was. We’re all trying really hard, we’re all trying to go as fast as we can.

“It’s like everyone running the wall out there going as fast as you can. Sometimes, you make a mistake, and we knew coming into this race, you can’t afford to make one mistake and put yourself behind. We just made a couple tonight which put us back. Obviously, our pit crew has done a good job this year. I’m not putting them down over one thing. It just was bad timing on one of them.”

And so, an otherwise stellar season for Logano – five victories, 16 Top-5s, and 22 Top-10s – ends on a sour note and with a fourth-place showing in the championship standings.

Nonetheless, Logano figures that he has a lot to be proud of.

“It’s been a spectacular year,” he said. “I’m a biased opinion right now, and kind of like [teammate] Brad [Keselowski] said, I’m probably too close to the fire to comment much about how it went. But as the car that scored more points than anyone in the Chase – it’s hard to say you’re in love with it, but I do think it was a good thing for the sport.

“I think the race was very exciting today, and just unfortunate, like I said, we didn’t execute today. It was a great experience. We had fun with it, learned a lot for next time in my career that we get to compete for a championship again and how I can maybe do a few things differently and then learn from my mistakes.”

Meanwhile, Logano will now turn his attention to even more important matters than what he’s been dealing with over the last couple of months. He’ll be getting married on December 13th.

Supercross: Husqvarna’s Jalek Swoll and Malcolm Stewart out with injury

Swoll Stewart injury
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Jalek Swoll and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Malcolm Stewart sustained injury in separate crashes late last week. Stewart missed Anaheim 2 and Swoll will not mount up for the 250 East season opener in Houston on February 4.

“Spent all of yesterday in the ER and today getting surgery so haven’t been able to make an update post,” Swoll posted on Instagram. “Spiral fractured my humorous yesterday and was lucky enough to get into surgery today. Absolutely heartbroken that I couldn’t show all the hard work me, [Mike Brown], [Aldon Baker], and [Joel Perez] were working on truly felt like this year was going to a big one with massive improvements we made but I guess it just wasn’t my time.”

The team announced on Instagram that Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his arm, sustained in a practice crash on Friday. After missing the division opener, no further timeline has been given for his return.

Swoll made eight starts in the 250 West division last season with a best finish of fifth. In 2021, he scored his first SuperMotocross win in the outdoor Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.

Stewart missed Anaheim 2 due to a practice injury. Likewise, the team did not announce a timetable for Stewart’s return.

He showed a lot of speed in the first two rounds before accidents eliminated him from contention in both rounds. He finished 16th at Anaheim 1 and 15th in San Diego, putting him in a points’ deficit that was already going to be difficult to overcome.

Stewart entered the 2023 season with a ton of confidence and believed all he needed was to stack his chips the right way to get this year’s championship.

Husqvarna is now represented by RJ Hampshire in the 250 West division and Christian Craig in 450s.

Hampshire had a rough weekend in Anaheim 2 and finished 11th in the overall standings after scoring a last place result in Race 2 with a bike sidelined by crash damage and a 13th in Race 3 after another fall.

Craig has not yet scored a top-10 on his 450 with a best of 11th at San Diego and Anaheim 2.

The news of these two injuries comes on the heels of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team losing three of their four 250 riders.

Last week, Pro Circuit Kawasaki announced Seth Hammaker would miss the season opener with a wrist injury. Almost immediately, it was announced Jo Shimoda would also miss the 250 East opener with a shoulder injury.

Chris Blose will serve as a replacement rider in the 250 East division with Carson Mumford scheduled to replace the injured Austin Forkner in the West.