Second-best thrills Logano as he readies for Chase long haul
LOUDON, N.H. -- As the engines cooled from last weekend's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup opener at Chicagoland Speedway , Joey Logano and his Team Penske No. 22 crew shared emphatic high-fives back at the team hauler. The celebration might have been unbefitting for a runner-up effort, but for Logano, the strength his over-the-wall outfit showed in a pressure-packed situation provided a window for added optimism. Logano's second-place finish last weekend kept him lodged in the top half of the Chase grid heading into Sunday's Bad Boy Off Road 300 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . He sits fifth in the Sprint Cup standings, just seven points back of series leader Martin Truex Jr ., last weekend's winner. As last week's race headed to overtime, Logano's No. 22 Ford benefited from speedy service and emerged from pit road ahead of Denny Hamlin 's No. 11 Toyota -- which happens to be the Joe Gibbs Racing team with one of the best pit-stop crews in the business. The fast stop allowed Logano to restart on the outside line, following Truex's charge through to the front in the two-lap dash to the checkers. "If it wasn't for that pit stop, we wouldn't have been in position for a great finish like we had," Logano said Friday at the 1.058-mile track in the cradle of the Connecticut native's New England stomping grounds. "That pressure and the way you handle it is, to me, the definition of a true athlete. There are a lot of athletes that can practice really well and when it becomes game time and you put the pressure on them, it goes the wrong way. And then there's an athlete that you put the pressure on and they get better, and that's what I saw in the 22 team last weekend, and I couldn't be more proud to be a part of that." The finish provides some needed breathing room for Logano, who's claimed two of his 15 Sprint Cup victories at New Hampshire. The cushion he obtained last weekend is hardly a failsafe, but it hasn't altered his team's tack in the Chase's Round of 16, the opening three-race series in the postseason. "We talk about this round as being base hits and don't have to do anything crazy," Logano said, taking a cue from the "small-ball" tactics of baseball strategy. "We did that exactly last week, so we'll just come up here and do the same exact thing. If something happens, something happens and we'll approach Dover in a different way, but, right now, let's go out here and if we can win the race, let's win the race. If not, let's try to top-5 it and that will give us a good sense of security heading into Dover. It's one race at a time, one step at a time." The pressure of the opening round may not drastically sway the game plan for either Logano or teammate Brad Keselowski , but there's already some incentive coming from within the walls of Team Penske 's Mooresville, North Carolina, headquarters. Simon Pagenaud locked up the IndyCar championship last weekend for team owner Roger Penske, leading a 1-2-3 sweep of Penske-owned cars in the series' final standings. The IndyCar title and podium monopoly have given Team Penske one crowning highlight to its 50th anniversary season. Your move, Joey and Brad. "It makes the NASCAR guys want to go out here and continue this awesome year that Team Penske has had so far, and Brad and I have a great shot at it," Logano said. "What if we finished 1-2 at Homestead? How cool would that be? We have an amazing opportunity to do that. We've got a long ways to go to get there, but we can do it."
Sound Off: Danica vs. Johanna
Johanna Long and Danica Patrick polarize fans in the Nationwide Series. Hear what they have to say about each other.
Long , Hornish wreck early at Phoenix
Johanna Long , Jamie Dick, and Sam Hornish Jr. wreck early at the Dollar General 200 at Phoenix.
Carmichael, Long crash hard
Ricky Carmichael spins out of Turn 4 and collects Johanna Long .
Pastrana, Cassill get turned by Long
Travis Pastrana and Landon Cassill get turned by Johanna Long
Drivers rally from pre-qualifying hang-ups
RELATED: Qualifying results " Edwards earns sixth Coors Light Pole of 2016 Multiple drivers, including three Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup competitors, were left sweating it out in the garage when their cars did not pass pre-qualifying inspection by the start of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Qualifying began on time at 4:45 p.m. ET, with a long line of cars still waiting to be cleared. Those that did not initially pass included the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Austin Dillon , the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick and the No. 14 SHR Chevrolet of Tony Stewart , all Chase drivers. Despite the backlog, all 40 cars eventually posted a qualifying time for Sunday's Bad Boy Off Road 300 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), with Regan Smith the last to clear inspection as he headed to pit road with 3 minutes, 15 seconds left in the opening 20-minute knockout round. "We feel like what is going on is that the stakes are higher now that we're at the Chase," NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller said on the NBCSN broadcast. "I think all of our competitors are trying to push the envelope. ... If someone doesn't make it out there, it's not our process, it's them pushing the envelope." In other technical-related news, the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 team for rookie Chase Elliott received its fourth written warning for issues in inspection. Elliott's team will be relegated to the final pick in pit-stall selection ahead of the second race of the 10-race postseason. Dillon and Harvick were eventually cleared with less than 12 minutes to go in the opening 20-minute round of group qualifying, and Harvick got on the track with seven minutes to spare. The final latecomers were granted a slight time cushion when Clint Bowyer spun out in Turn 4 during a qualifying pass, stopping the clock with 11:39 remaining. Harvick eventually posted the seventh-fastest time of the round, with Stewart in 17th and Dillon 29th in his backup car after a crash in opening practice damaged his primary No. 3 Chevrolet. "It's different," Dillon said of the logjam outside of the inspection bay. "I see NASCAR just trying to keep everybody on the same playing field." Harvick will start 19th. His team owner and SHR teammate, Stewart, will start 22nd in what's expected to be his final New Hampshire start. The full list of cars not cleared from inspection when the green flag dropped: the No. 10 of Danica Patrick , the No. 47 of AJ Allmendinger , the No. 7 of Smith, the No. 83 of Matt DiBenedetto , the No. 5 of Kasey Kahne , the No. 16 of Greg Biffle and the No. 17 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. , in addition to the Nos. 3, 4 and 14. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Edwards to start from pole in New Hampshire once again
RELATED: Starting lineup " See the full field LOUDON, N.H. – Carl Edwards never had the reputation as a spectacular qualifier – until this year. On Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , Edwards ran 135.453 mph (28.119 seconds) in the money round of knockout qualifying to earn the top start spot in Sunday’s Bad Boy Off Road 300 (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the second race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . The Coors Light Pole Award was Edwards sixth of the year, doubling his previous single-season best. It was his third at New Hampshire, all coming in the last four races at the Magic Mile, and the 22nd of his career. Edwards edged fellow Toyota driver and last week’s race winner, Martin Truex Jr . (135.212 mph) for the top starting spot by .05 seconds. During a qualifying session that started slowly because more than a dozen cars were late to the grid thanks to inspection issues, Chase drivers grabbed 10 of the top 12 starting spots for Sunday’s race. Non-Chaser Ryan Newman (134.896 mph) qualified third, followed by Jimmie Johnson (134.858 mph) and Denny Hamlin (134.796 mph). Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray were sixth and seventh, respectively, with Matt Kenseth and non-Chaser Kasey Kahne eighth and ninth. Chase Elliott , Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch completed the top 12. "These Toyotas are really fast," said Edwards, who spent considerable time in qualifying trim earlier in the day. "It's a fun place to drive when your car's that good. (Crew chief) Dave (Rogers) made great changes. "That’s what we needed. We didn't run well at Chicago (a 15th-place finish). I was very frustrated. So to come here and start on the pole and get great pit stall, hopefully we can turn this into a good race." With his sixth pole of the year, Edwards won the Coors Light 6-Pack Award, worth $25,000 to the charity of the driver's choice. "Half of it's going to Speedway Children’s Charities and half to the NASCAR Foundation in honor of Betty Jane France," Edwards said. "It's really cool of MillerCoors to do that. It’s going to help a lot of people." With a long family history at the track, Truex covets a win at the Magic Mile and was delighted with his front-row starting spot. "I've been after this one a long time," said Truex, whose father, Martin Truex Sr., raced in both the Busch North and XFINITY Series at NHMS. "I feel like we’ve been close before, and there's no other track I'd rather win at right now." Notes: Elliott's No. 24 Chevrolet received its fourth written warning for failure of pre-qualifying inspection and will have the last choice of pit stalls… The No. 4 Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick , the 2014 series champion, also had inspection issues and qualified 19th after getting to the grid. Harvick is 14th in the standings after a 20th-place run at Chicagoland. The 13th-16th-place drivers will be eliminated from the Chase after the Oct. 2 race at Dover… Truex led the second round of qualifying at 135.236 mph, a session that saw the four fastest drivers all within .010 seconds of each other. </p>
Runner-up Bell: 'Just got to keep digging'
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Truck Chase Grid LOUDON, N.H. – Christopher Bell had what he described as a "good … no, great" truck after his second-place finish in Saturday's UNOH 175 Camping World Truck Chase opener at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . If Bell's No. 4 Toyota Tundra was "good … no, great," his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate William Byron's race-winning No. 9 entry was great … no, incredible. "All day long , we couldn't run with him and we had 175 (laps) to get it done and we didn't," Byron told NASCAR.com on pit road after the race. "I think he was fading there at the end and lapped traffic was not doing him any favors, so open race track (I probably couldn't have caught him), but the way it was, I maybe had a shot at it." The dominant showing in which KBM trucks led every single lap -- 161 for Byron, 11 for Bell and three for Cody Coughlin 's No. 51, which ran out of gas late – may very well clue us into half the battle contestants we'll be looking at in less than two months at Homestead-Miami Speedway when four drivers compete for the inaugural Camping World Truck Series Chase crown. Based on what we saw Saturday, you'd be hard-pressed to find a reason to not include the streaking Byron and Bell tag-team among the quartet. Byron no longer has to sweat the Chase wild card that looms at Talladega next month in the Round of 8 as he's clinched his berth to the next series of races, while Bell's next-best result puts him in good position to move on should a rare – for him – hiccup occur. In the following Round of 6, it could be the No. 4 driver's time to land in Victory Lane for the second time this season. Bell picked up his second career Camping World Truck Series victory earlier this season at Gateway Motorsports Park and showed his strength at the "Magic Mile," two tracks similar in length and build to the penultimate race at Phoenix International Raceway . "(The similarities between here and Gateway) kind of, maybe (helped)," Bell said. "Gateway was not a race track that I had circled on my schedule that I thought I would have a possible win at, so to come here and be as good as we were, I think it's just a testimony to my crew chief, Jerry (Baxter). He does an awesome job, especially at these flat tracks where he has it all figured out." And don't expect the nerves to get in the way, as the 21-year-old was unfazed by any pressure that came along with Saturday marking the landmark first-ever Chase for the series, approaching it like any other race. "I think it was probably pretty similar (to what I was expecting). You just gotta treat these things the same," Bell said. "All these races are important; you never come out here to finish second. "Just gotta keep digging and pay attention and not make mistakes."
Harvick knows what to do when backed into corner
RELATED: Chase bubble heading into Loudon One race into NASCAR's 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and the championship standings are thoroughly scrambled and causing double-takes. Some favorites are shaking their heads and some long shots are thanking their lucky stars. But as rough as stomaching a 20th-place finish in the Chicago opener was for the regular-season points leader Kevin Harvick , there is still every reason to believe it could just provide a more dramatic backdrop for another championship run. Harvick finished 42nd in the Chicago race last year and still advanced to the final round of drivers competing for the big trophy at Miami. In fact, the 2014 Sprint Cup champion Harvick is the only driver who has advanced to the final round in both seasons of the new Chase format. Obviously, his Stewart-Haas Racing team feels urgency to get back on track this weekend in New Hampshire. Harvick is ranked 14th -- a single point behind his team owner Tony Stewart in the 12th and final position to advance in two weeks. But this group knows it can restore its title run, having crawled out of a deeper hole last fall and still finishing runner-up in the championship. It's a steely, forward-focus mindset that has served the intensely competitive Harvick well. "It's something we pride ourselves in," Harvick said this week. "I think the pressure situations have been very good for us. As you look at the past two years -- winning the championship and finishing second and getting to Homestead twice -- it kind of shows the grit and backbone of our team and how well they've dealt with those situations. "That experience definitely pays dividends every year when you go in. I think we were a little too ramped up, or at least I was, to start the Chase last year. There's definitely a strategy to how you approach situations and how you approach the end. I think, having dealt with that in the past, that it's a good thing for us." Harvick's track record at New Hampshire is impressive, if not A-plus. He won a race from the pole position in 2006, has led 698 total laps on the 1.058-mile track and never had a DNF. He's had top-four finishes in three of the last four races in New Hampshire and was fourth there in July. While some consider the track to be a unique wild card, Harvick insists it's of equal challenge as the rest of the schedule. "I don't think Loudon is really any different than any other racetrack," Harvick said. "It's just circumstances that can crop up at really any racetrack throughout the Chase. ... If you're having a bad day, you know it can result in a bad day. You just have to overcome that and try to get yourself out of the hole." That is something Harvick has done well in the past, and it's his overall standing in Sprint Cup competition that is more indicative of his potential than last week's circumstantial disappointment. He accumulated the most regular-season points of anyone. He leads the series in 11 different categories, including top fives (13), top 10s (21), driver rating (109.1) and average finish (8.9). He has four runner-up finishes this season, including Charlotte and Kansas, where the series returns during the Chase. Since 2014, Harvick and his crew chief Rodney Childers have a series-best 33 top-two finishes, 10 of those wins. That translates into 33.7 percent of all the races in that time frame. The disappointing outcome at Chicago can be viewed as both an anomaly and a motivator. There is no way Harvick's competition is writing him off. In fact, they are probably more worried when he is more driven. "You just have to be selfish," Harvick said after the Richmond regular-season finale. "You have to do what's best for your team, worry about the consequences when all the dust settles, and you have to be narrow minded, not listen to anything, and do whatever it takes to figure out how to make the best performance on that particular day because every point matters. "This is a minute-by-minute battle." And Harvick knows time is ticking for the 4-team. MORE: Is Harvick a good fantasy play this week?
NASCAR Foundation to donate $1 million to NYU Langone Medical Center
NEW YORK -- The NASCAR Foundation will donate $1 million to NYU Langone Medical Center, as part of a multi-year partnership to benefit hospitalized children. Through this partnership, The NASCAR Foundation will enhance the Child Life Program at the Hassenfeld Children's Hospital of New York at NYU Langone. The partnership will be commemorated at the first-ever NASCAR Foundation Honors Gala taking place at The Marriott Marquis in New York on Sept. 27. This is The NASCAR Foundation's first multi-year partnership with a New York area hospital and marks its commitment to reach more kids nationally. NASCAR’s charitable arm has donated $25 million and impacted more than one million children since its inception in 2006. "This is an important partnership for The NASCAR Foundation," said NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton. "The work being done by the NYU Langone Medical Center is changing lives, each and every day. The NASCAR Foundation is proud to have an opportunity to support that important work and expand our commitment to improving the lives of children in need." Through this partnership, the Child Life Program will ease the anxiety of children and their families during their hospital stay, which is essential to recovery. The NASCAR Foundation will support an enhanced child and family experience, fund two Child Life specialists, and provide resources, equipment and supplies to complement the wide-range of supportive and therapeutic activities currently offered at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at no charge to patients. This marks an expansion of The NASCAR Foundation's commitment to supporting children with Child Life programming as part of its signature Speediatrics program, which has provided more than 500,000 children with state-of-the-art medical care. "As leaders in the field of pediatrics, we're proud to partner with The NASCAR Foundation whose generous philanthropic support provides extensive and meaningful programs to help children and their families," said Catherine S. Manno, MD, the Pat and John Rosenwald Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at NYU Langone. "This sponsorship, in concert with our Sala Institute for Child and Family Centered Care, will strengthen our national exemplar model of care for children and their families." The NASCAR Foundation Honors Gala, which was planned to celebrate "10 Years of Giving," has taken on additional significance following the unexpected passing of its Founder and Chairwoman Emeritus Betty Jane France last month. The Gala will be a tribute to Betty Jane France's life and is being hosted by the France family including NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France (son) and his wife Amy France, International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy (daughter) and NASCAR Vice Chairman and International Speedway Corporation Chairman Jim France (brother-in-law). At the Honors Gala, various awards will be bestowed, including: -- Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide : One of four finalists will be announced as the winner following a fan vote which has taken place since July 13. The NASCAR Foundation will donate a total of $175,000 to the charities represented by the finalists -- with the winner's charity receiving a $100,000 donation. This year's finalists include Jim Giaccone of Bayville, New York, representing Tuesday's Children; Andy Hoffman of Atkinson, Nebraska, founder of the Team Jack Foundation; Logan Houptley of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a founding member of Mikayla's Voice; and Parker White of Greensboro, North Carolina, founder of BackPack Beginnings. Since the award's inception, nearly $900,000 has been contributed to charities represented by the finalists . -- Children's Champion Award: Dr. Howard B. Ginsburg : The William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Associate Professor of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, and Division Chief, Pediatric Surgery at NYU Langone, will receive the award recognizing his commitment to children. -- Founder's Award: NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus will receive the award recognizing his contributions to philanthropy. The Honors Gala will be headlined by Grammy® and Tony® nominated singer Sara Bareilles . The following NASCAR champions and rising stars will be in attendance: six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson , seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Richard Petty , reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch , NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, two-time NASCAR XFINITY Series Champions Martin Truex Jr . and Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., Danica Patrick , Kyle Larson , Kasey Kahne , Ben Kennedy and Julia Landauer. This event builds on NASCAR's long history in New York. The racing organization opened its first office in Manhattan in 1996 and is based out of the newly renovated New York headquarters at 590 Madison Avenue. This partnership also marks further collaboration between NYU and NASCAR. In March, Brian France participated in NYU's first Social Responsibility of Sports Conference where he pledged NASCAR's support to improve social responsibility in sports. For ticket information or table sponsorships, please visit www.nascarfoundation.org/honors-gala .