Sunday, December 17, 2017
Sports

Logano 'fired up' for Texas race after getting wrecked

FORT WORTH, Texas — Joey Logano arrived at Texas Motor Speedway this week with a clear conscience, an easy smile and a new focus after being intentionally wrecked by Matt Kenseth last weekend.

Kenseth's two-race suspension begins Sunday after his appeals were rejected. Logano said the incident at Martinsville when he was leading might not have been such a bad thing.

"Our team is more fired up than ever, I'm more focused than ever, I'm pretty pumped up about being here at the race track," Logano said Friday. "We've still got plenty of confidence."

"I'm not looking at the rearview mirror. I'm looking through the windshield."

Logano is last among the eight drivers still in contention for the Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship. He had won three consecutive races and was leading with 47 laps left when he was wrecked by Kenseth as payback from an incident three races earlier.

NASCAR suspended Kenseth, so Erik Jones will drive the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing for Sunday's AAA Texas 500. Kenseth's probation was reduced from six months to the end of the year and he promised Thursday to race as he always has going forward.

With Logano qualifying fourth and Jones sixth on Friday, they will start nose-to-tail Sunday. Logano's Team Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski earned the pole, and will be on the front row with fellow Chase contender Kevin Harvick.

Asked if he felt the penalties against Kenseth were just, Logano said that wasn't his decision.

"NASCAR looked at it the way they needed to, and they made the decision they felt was right," Logano said.

Fans cheered when Kenseth, who was nine laps down, slammed into Team Penske's No. 22 Ford on Sunday while Logano led.

"Was I surprised to see the fans' reaction after something like that happened last week? Yes, I was," Logano said. "I was disgusted by it. It's not what any driver would expect out of it."

In qualifying, Keselowski ran a fast lap of 196.929 mph around the 11/2-mile Texas oval. Jeff Gordon, the only driver locked in for a title shot in the Nov. 22 season finale, qualified 18th.

Trucks: Points leader Jones led a 1-2 sweep for Kyle Busch Motorsports, holding off Daniel Suarez to win the WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas. Jones led 117 of 147 laps.

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