Joey Logano said he will try not to let what happened a year ago at Martinsville Speedway have an impact on how he races in Sunday’s Goody’s 500.
“You’re never going to erase it from your mind,” Logano said Friday of being wrecked by Matt Kenseth during last year’s race. “I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not going to say that.”
Logano had drawn Kenseth’s ire after Logano knocked Kenseth out of the way to win two weeks earlier at Kansas Speedway. That was that second of a three-race sweep of the Chase’s second round by Logano, and he was also leading late in the race at Martinsville when Kenseth took his revenge.
The wreck cost Logano a shot at the title.
“I will say that I don’t focus on it,” said Logano, who won his way into the third round of this year’s chase by winning last week at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. “If I focus on it, that’s a distraction. My main goal is to win, not think about what happened last year. If I can use it to motivate me, I’m going to use that to help me win. But that’s going to be it.”
▪ Martin Truex Jr., who was eliminated from the Chase last week when his engine blew at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, will start from the pole Sunday in the Goody’s 500 at Martinsville. Truex had a final-round lap of 98.206 mph to win his fifth pole of the season. Truex, who also won the pole at Talladega, will start alongside Logano (98.165). Three Chase drivers – Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch – finished outside the top 12.
▪ The Truck Series’ Chase enters its semifinal round of six Saturday with the Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville (1:30 p.m., Fox Sports One). Charlotte’s William Byron, who has won a rookie-record six times this season, leads the group, which also includes Christopher Bell, Timothy Peters, defending champion Matt Crafton, Ben Kennedy and Johnny Sauter.
▪ Denny Hamlin defended how Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch raced last week at Talladega. The three – all safely inside the cut line to advance to the third round of the Chase – remained that way by racing near each other and at the back of the pack all day. That strategy drew criticism from some fans and on social media.
“I thought it was smart,” said Hamlin, whose third-place finish at Talladega allowed him to advance in the Chase. “I knew we had an uphill battle because we weren’t going to have any teammates all day. They would be the dumbest group in history if they had run in the middle of the pack and got wrecked at some point when they didn’t have to be. It’s about winning championships, it’s not about winning Talladega. Nobody from any other team would have done anything different, that’s for sure, and if they tell you different, that’s a lie.”
▪ Kyle Larson, who was eliminated from the Chase after the first round, had the fastest lap (98.170) in Friday’s first Cup practice. Larson was followed by Denny Hamlin, Logano, Chase Elliott and Danica Patrick.