Life is good for first-time series points leader CONCORD, N.C. -- In theory, Joey Logano can rest easy over the next two races. His Hollywood Casino 400 victory in the opening race of the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Kansas Speedway advanced him to the Eliminator Round that begins on Oct. 26 at Martinsville Speedway . But don't tell the 24-year-old that. "Right now, we are thinking about Charlotte," Logano said Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "We are thinking about our Martinsville test we've got coming up this week. ... These next two (races) are all about keeping the momentum going, keeping the ball rolling." Logano later simplified it even more. "My goal is still to win," he said. "I might be greedy, but I want to win." Still, the Kansas victory does bring a bit of relief for the Connecticut native. "It's nice to know you're in because I think everyone was very nervous about this round," Logano said. "Knowing that it's not a round that is going to win you the championship, but it's a round that could keep you from winning it, when you think of Kansas and Talladega being in this round." Logano's five wins this year have come at a variety of tracks -- from the short tracks at Bristol and Richmond to the "Magic Mile" of Loudon to the intermediate ovals of Texas and Kansas. Clearly, the Team Penske driver is thriving like never before. In addition to more than doubling his win total entering this season (he came in with three career victories and has five in 2014), he has the most top-fives in one season (14) and has led more laps this year (916) than he had from 2009-2013. (660). On top of that, shortly after his win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the Challenger Round of the Chase, he inked a multiyear extension with Team Penske, the team he's been with since 2013. One of the year's biggest thrills is also a career first for him: Holding the points lead, which he has now. "One of the coolest things about winning last week is that we are the points leader now," Logano said. "That's never happened for me before. Seeing your truck parked in the first spot, having that first garage stall, obviously it doesn't mean much at this point, but it is something special." At Kansas, Logano was able to avoid the tire woes that claimed several Chase contenders such as teammate Brad Keselowski , as well as six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr . Those three drivers occupy the lowest three spots in the standings among the Chase field coming into Charlotte. With his teammate currently on the wrong side of the Chase bubble, Logano says there are no plans to do anything differently this weekend. "We're going to do what we normally do," Logano said. "We normally go out and try and help each other. As a two-car team, we have to work very tight together to make sure both our cars are fast. I feel like that's something we applied to Team Penske a long time ago. "We'll pretty much do the same things we are already doing. Working together throughout practice, throughout qualifying, sharing our notes, talking about our race cars and then race each other as hard as we know how to on the race track." Logano is enjoying arguably the best stretch of his career, with three wins in the past seven races, four top-five finishes to start the Chase and no finish worse than 14th in his past 11 Sprint Cup races. The Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC) could very well keep the momentum going. He has three top-fives, six top-10s and a series-best average finish of 10.5 in 11 starts. Still, despite having his spot in the next round locked up, Logano knows things could change, and next time it could be him instead of Keselowski or the other favorites who is in a tough position come the Eliminator Round. "We are fortunate enough that it is not going be us this time," Logano said. "But like Roger (Penske) likes to say, 'You can't trip up over your own press clippings.' " MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Easy-to-follow guide for the new Chase Grid format
Get the on-track times for all the NASCAR action RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota All times ET TV LISTINGS / BUY TICKETS FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE / BUY TICKETS FOR KENTUCKY / WEEKEND TRACK EVENTS This week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway , while the NASCAR Nationwide Series returns to Kentucky Speedway . SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21: RACE-DAY RUNDOWN -- 1:16 p.m.: Official Welcome by Jerry Gappens, executive vice president & general manager of NHMS -- 1:19 p.m.: Intro Honorary Pace Car Driver: Brad Park, retired ice hockey defenseman of the Boston Bruins -- 1:22:30 p.m.: Intro Honorary Starter: Chris Hagestad, VP, Advance Auto Parts -- 1:23 p.m.: Intro Grand Marshal: Jes Hansen, President & CEO, OSRAM Sylvania -- 1:23:30 p.m.: Intro Miss Sprint Cup: Madison Martin -- 1:24 p.m.: Intro Miss zMax: Christina Davidson -- 1:24:30 p.m.: Intro: Milo the Moose -- 1:25 p.m.: NSCS Driver Introductions with NASCAR Special Awards -- 1:45 p.m.: Team Fastrax jumps with large flag -- 1:54:45 p.m.: Intro Canadian National Anthem -- 1:55 p.m.: Canadian National Anthem by: Kirk Young, Music Teacher from Tilton, NH -- 1:57 p.m.: Presentation of Colors by: Combined Services Color Guard -- 1:57:20 p.m.: Invocation by: Graham Siemon, Worship Pastor from Crossway Christian Church -- 1:57:45 p.m.: Intro National Anthem -- 1:58 p.m.: National Anthem by Whitney Doucet, Speedway Star Contest Winner -- 1:59:30 p.m.: Fly-by TOT: B-17 provided by the Collings Foundation -- 2:04:30 p.m.: "Drivers, Start Your Engines" by: Jes Hansen, President & CEO, OSRAM Sylvania -- 2:12 p.m.: Start of the Sylvania 300 (300 laps, 317.4 miles) ON TRACK -- 2 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 (300 laps, 317.4 miles), ESPN ( Follow live ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Follow live ) -- Approx. 5:15 p.m.: Post-NSCS race -------------- FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19: ON TRACK -- 9:30-10:50 a.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice ( Get results ) -- Noon-1:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Get results ) -- 1:30-2:30 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Get results ) -- 3-4:25 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice, FOX Sports 2/FOX Sports 1 ( Get results ) -- 3:30-4:30 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series practice ( Get results ) -- 4:40 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 ( Get results ) -- 6:30-7:30 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series final practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Get results ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 11:30 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GarageCam -- 2:30 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series GarageCam PRESS CONFERENCES ( Follow live ) -- 10:30 a.m.: Kyle Larson -- 10:45 a.m.: Jimmie Johnson -- 11 a.m.: Aric Almirola -- 11:15 a.m.: Brad Keselowski -- 2 p.m.: Ryan Newman -- 2:15 p.m.: Jeff Gordon -- 2:30 p.m.: Denny Hamlin -- Approx. 6 p.m.: Post-NSCS qualifying SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20: ON TRACK -- 9-9:50 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Get results ) -- 10:10 a.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 ( Get results ) -- 11:30 a.m-12:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Get results ) -- 1 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 (175 laps, 185.15 miles), FOX Sports 1 ( Get results ) -- 4:10 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying ( Get results ) -- 7:30 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 (200 laps, 300 miles), ESPNEWS ( Get results ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Follow live ) -- Approx. 4:15 p.m.: Post-Truck Series race MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: NASCAR Chase Grid games WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Four-time champion has three career wins at 1-mile track Jeff Gordon has led the most laps of any driver to compete in the Sprint Cup Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . In 39 races, the four-time series champion has led 1,371 laps, while winning three races at the 1-mile track. Despite the high laps led count, Gordon has not won at the Loudon, New Hampshire track since 1998.
Alan Cavanna previews the weekend racing schedule with New Hampshire Motor Speedway hosting the Camping World Truck Series and the Sprint Cup Series, and Kentucky Speedway hosting the Nationwide Series
Earnhardt reflects on ninth-place at Loudon, looks forward to Dover RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize Count Dale Earnhardt Jr . as one that appreciates the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format. "This Chase, I'm telling you, this thing is intense," Earnhardt said on " The Dale Jr. Download " as part of Dirty Mo Radio. He later added, "I think these rounds are harder than I anticipated." A good portion of drivers in the Chase found some sort of trouble in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Junior had some issues but was able to overcome them for a ninth-place finish. A loose wheel brought Junior back to pit road on Lap 123 and left him a lap down. On the download, the three-time 2014 winner took us through a driver's mindset when that happens. "You're going to have loose wheels, you just are. That's going to happen. Those guys are working their guts out," he said. "They have those air wrenches tuned to do the job as fast as they can and try to cut some time off of the overall stop. In talking to my right front changer, I think that also opens the window for those kind of things to happen so there's a balance there between having a gun that can do the job quickly but also being able to get those things tight every time and being consistent on that. I wasn't too worried about it. I've had loose wheels before. You just gotta understand that the wheel's going to come off eventually. So you need to get your butt on pit road as fast as you can because you can't run well or run in the top 10 if you back it in the wall. You just come down pit road, you're going to lose a little time. Steve (Letarte) was smart to put four tires on it because we were going to lose a lap anyways." The No. 88 team battled back and got the beneficiary of the free pass on Lap 189. "We were patient, we got our (free pass) eventually, it was a little bit late in the race when we got it, but we were able to pass a lot of guys on restarts. Not every restart is going to be awesome but we were able to make a lot of ground up on restarts," he said. Earnhardt recorded 29 quality passes, the third-most in the race, according to loop data. A late restart on the inside hindered Junior's chances for a top-five finish, but overall Junior seemed happy to avoid a big issue that affected other Chase drivers. "After everything that happened, after everything we went through, we dodged a big bullet." The attention now shifts to the final race of the Challenger Round, the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway (2 p.m. ET, Sunday, ESPN). In 29 starts at the Monster Mile, Earnhardt has one win, six top-five finishes, 11 top-10 finishes and a pole, which he earned last fall. In the past five races at the 1-mile track, he has finished no worse than 11th place. Junior enters Dover in sixth place in the standings with a 28-point cushion to move on to the Contender Round, a fact not lost on the Hendrick Motorsports driver. "We are going in with a little bit of a cushion, 28 points. If we give up 28 points and don't make the next round, with that kind of finish, I don't know that we deserve to go any further. But that's not what we're going to worry about. We got a good cushion and that makes the whole weekend a lot easier. And we'll try to get on through this round. Try to go out there and win the race. We get to move on to some tracks that I think we have a better shot at to be more competitive at and we'll try to continue to improve on consistency. We've had some good speed so we just got to get the results to match with the way the car's been running. "Hopefully we can avoid all the nonsense. We love to win races and we're going out there to try and win races. Trust me, I want to finish as high as I can. We're working every lap trying to pass cars but as long as we're in that last round with a shot, that's all that matters." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Find out who can clinch and who needs to rebound at New Hampshire
Take a virtual lap around New Hampshire Motor Speedway with NASCAR driver Greg Biffle.
Brad Keselowski dominates at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and holds off Kyle Busch to get the NNS win.
Brad Keselowski takes stall No. 1 for Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire