Joey Logano won last week’s Toyota Owner’s 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Unfortunately, an L1 penalty was bestowed upon the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford team just yesterday morning. The team has lost 25 owner points as well as 25 driver points and the victory is now encumbered. Crew chief Todd Gordon has been fined $50,000 and will sit out the next two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events. Team Penske sent out a statement that they do not plan to appeal this penalty.
“What we got in trouble for was something that really didn’t make our car faster,” Logano said in the Talladega Superspeedway media center earlier. “It wasn’t enough to make it much faster, so, personally inside, I still look at it as a win.”
Logano is not letting this slow him down.
“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,” he said. “The penalty is pretty severe. We pushed a little bit too far and we’ll play that penalty and move on and attack again.”
With Gordon suspended, Logano is still in good hands as Greg Irwin and race engineer Miles Stanley take over the reins this weekend at Talladega.
“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,” Logano said. “We’ll have Greg up on the box on Sunday. We’ll have Miles, who is involved with every step of the way every single week with Todd, so that will be a great fit. He’s been with us for a while now and he knows me and we have a great relationship as well. He knows the right questions to ask me to get the information out that he needs to make adjustments.”
After winning the fall race a year ago on the 2.66-mile superspeedway, Logano is ready to return.
“We’re ready to get on the race track. 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,” he said. “We’ve either had a car that’s capable of winning or we crash. That’s kind of how it seems it is for this team but I’m alright with that.”
With this weekend being the first of two trips to Alabama and the second time the MENCS field will set wheel on a restrictor-plate track, the rust will need to be knocked off. “Anytime you come to these superspeedways and you haven’t done it in a while, it takes a lap or two to kind of get used to the lingo again with your spotter and what is going on and getting used to that four-wide draft you see here at Talladega,” Logano explained. “That makes it a lot of fun for us so I’m ready to get out there and have some fun today.”