Joey Logano ‘determined to make it happen’ after Richmond penalties

Photo by Harold Hinson Photography

By Yvonne Jones, Staff Writer

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Joey Logano said on Friday that the penalties assessed after his Richmond triumph were “severe,” but planned to use them as motivation to win even more.

Logano overcame starting from the back at Richmond International Raceway last week to pick up his first victory of the season. However, on Thursday, NASCAR penalized the driver of the No. 22 Penske Racing car and his team for a rear suspension violation it found during a teardown at the R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina.

NASCAR deemed the victory “encumbered,” meaning the win stands but not the benefits it brings. Logano had the automatic playoff berth taken away and the five playoff points that came with the victory. He was docked 25 driver points and the team lost 25 owner points.  Crew chief Todd Gordon was fined $50,000 and assessed a two-race suspension, which he’ll serve at Talladega and Kansas. Team Penske won’t appeal.

“What we got in trouble for was something that really didn’t make our car any faster,” Logano said. “It wasn’t enough to make it much faster, so, personally inside, I still look at it as a win.  Obviously, from the outside we’ve lost all the benefits of the win.  We’ve lost the playoff points.  We’ve lost a lot of regular points.  We’ve lost our crew chief for a couple of weeks.  We’ve lost some cash.  The penalty is pretty severe.

“With that being said, it wasn’t like it was a big thing, but 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. ”

The 26-year-old driver will have to attack the mammoth 2.66-mile track without Gordon. He will have Greg Erwin in his ear instead.

“It’s tough,” the Connecticut native admitted. “Losing Todd is a very big piece of our race team and that’s something that is very challenging.  We’re looking at the silver lining as something that’s making us drive to win more and make us a little bit more determined to make it happen, so I think we can make up those points with the right attitude.”

Logano has two Cup wins at Talladega and both have come in the last three races at NASCAR’s longest track. He also boasts six top 10s in 16 visits.

“We’re ready to get on the race track,” said Logano before the first practice on Friday. “Any week we’re ready to get on the race track no matter what, but Talladega has been a good race track for us in the past.”

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