Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Joey Logano: “We Pushed it a Little Bit Too Far”
After scoring the victory at Richmond International Speedway, Joey Logano‘s team received a significant penalty on Thursday. Although admitting his team was in the wrong, it has not changed his perspective on the victory.
“I think what happened was something that’s very, very small,” he said. “What we got in trouble for was something that didn’t make our car any faster.”
In post-race inspection, the No. 22 Ford violated section 20 of the NASCAR rulebook, which states “the Truck trailing arm spacer/pinion angle shim mating surfaces must be planar and must be in complete contact with corresponding mating surfaces at all points and at all times.”
“We had a small gap underneath the truck arm to the housing, from what I was told and what I understand of it,” he said. “It’s very, very small. The rule is black and white that it must be flush and we apparently had a little bit of a gap. Like I said, it wasn’t a big deal, but it is black and white, and for that reason, we’ll have to pay the penalty for that.”
His victory is now considered “encumbered,” meaning he cannot use it to qualify for an automatic playoff spot and has lost the five playoff points that come with the win. Additionally, crew chief Todd Gordon was suspended for two races and fined $50,000, and the team lost 25 driver points and 25 owner points.
Logano feels the penalty is “very severe,” but understands why as “the rule is written, and it’s black and white.”
“We pushed a little bit too far, and we’ll pay that penalty and move on and attack again,” he continued. “The silver lining to it all is I think this team has a great attitude, and we’re able to race very hard obviously, and we race aggressively, on the race track and off the race track. That’s why we’re successful, and that’s why we win races, and we’re gonna continue to do that because we’ve got the right attitude to go out there and push hard and we’ll get through this little tough time without our crew chief.”
As Logano tried to brush it off, it is the organization’s second penalty of 2017. Brad Keselowski’s crew chief Paul Wolfe was suspended for three races, along with a 35-point penalty after failing post-race inspection at Phoenix International Raceway.
“Honestly, I don’t believe that we wear a black hat or anything like that,” Logano said. “I think we’re the most professional organization out here. I think we push as hard as we can because we’re looking for hundredths of a second – every race team is – the fact of the matter is we’re winning right now and when your car wins it gets put through tech a lot. That’s the way I look at it is we’re successful right now, and that’s why our car has to go through tech, and that’s just part of it, but we’re gonna have to push as hard as we can to be successful, and sometimes you go over that line.”
Race Engineer Miles Stanley will serve as Logano’s crew chief this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, with Greg Erwin helping call race strategy on Sunday. Team Penske enters the Geico 500 looking for their fourth straight win at the 2.66-mile oval.
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