Many NASCAR drivers live in or near Charlotte, so this week’s protests in uptown have gotten their attention.
“There’s an emotional reaction,” Joey Logano said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “A lot of times you see things like this and it’s in a different city and you don’t recognize where it’s at. When you see the NASCAR (headquarters) building getting vandalized and you see areas of the city that you know very well that are getting vandalized, it makes you sick to your gut. All we can do is say prayers and hope everything calms down and everybody is able to come to some kind of peace at the end of this thing”
Said Matt Kenseth: “You just hope it stops. I think we’re very fortunate to live in a free country and peaceful protest and demonstrations are OK. Certainly the violence and vandalism isn’t a way to prove a point or try to make things better. Hopefully we’ll get it right and go from there.”
Logano said he is comfortable talking about issues such as the unrest in Charlotte and that it comes with the territory of his high-profile job.
“I think any athlete or public figure takes on a responsibility when he sits down and talks with (the media),” said Logano. “I know the influence that I can have on young eyes that are watching us that are very fragile and could go a lot of different ways.”
Logano’s Joey Logano Foundation made a $10,000 contribution Friday to the Manchester (N.H.) Police Athletic League. That, Logano said, is the best way for him to give back and make a statement.
“I don’t honestly believe in a lot of other ways that other athletes are doing it right now,” he said.
▪ Carl Edwards won the pole for Sunday’s Bad Boy Off Road 300 with a lap of 135.453 mph in the final round of qualifying. It’s Edwards’ sixth pole of the season. Martin Truex Jr. starts on the outside of the front row, with Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson on the second row.
Several cars were delayed in beginning their runs after failing prequalifying inspection. With NASCAR relaxing its laser-inspection tolerance rules earlier this week for the Chase, teams were pushing past the new limits.
“It’s an unfortunate circumstance, but it’s natural for the competitors to push the envelope,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition. “We don’t have a huge time window, so this is the situation we’re faced with.”
▪ Martin Truex Jr. said Friday he and Kevin Harvick aired out their differences from last Sunday’s race at Chicagoland Speedway.
“We’re fine, we’re good to go,” Truex said. “We talked about what our perspectives were and agreed it’s over. It’s done with, we’ll move on and race like we always have. We’ve raced very hard but always clean. So we agreed it was a racing deal and we’ll move forward.”
After the race – which he won – Truex said Harvick had slammed into his No. 78 Toyota down the straightaway on purpose. Harvick hasn’t given his side of the story.