LOUDON, N.H. — Joey Logano was parked in NASCAR’s penalty box.

Logano was forced to strap in, put on his helmet and sit on pit road in the No. 22 Ford for the duration of a 50-minute Cup series practice Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. NASCAR punished Logano and his Team Penske team because the car failed inspection four times before Friday’s aborted qualifying attempt.

NASCAR teams routinely hold cars for allotted periods of time during practice for various infractions. But NASCAR said it was the first time a Cup driver was benched for the entire practice.

Logano sipped on his water bottle while inside the car on an 80-degree day.

“I had time for a lot of thoughts in there,” Logano said. “Mainly, that it’s a total joke. I don’t know why it has to be on pit road. There’s no reason to sit out there. It’s dumb.”

Logano shook hands with fans and some snapped selfies with the car as the rest of the field sped by during practice.

“I just think it makes our sport look dumb,” he said. “I think we can accomplish the same thing in a more professional manner.”

Logano wasn’t alone in criticizing NASCAR for the decision. Dale Earnhardt Jr., long NASCAR’s most popular driver, tweeted it was “silly” to make Logano sit on pit road.

“I’ve no issue with making him miss practice. Him sitting on pit road with what amounts to wearing a dunce hat is highly unnecessary,” Earnhardt tweeted.

Kurt Culbert, managing director of integrated marketing and communications, fired back at Earnhardt on Twitter: “Don’t do the crime if you can’t pay the fine. Simple logic here. EVERYONE knows the rules on this one.”

“But the ‘hold’ part of the practice hold is to be held on pit road. That’s intended to be part of the infraction (as is missing track time),” Culbert tweeted.

Teams signed off on the escalating punishment structure in the offseason and knew the consequences for messing with the car for inspection.

The dunce caps and playground taunts briefly swiped the headlines from the other pressing NASCAR playoff hot topics, such as spoiler tape, encumbered finishes, driver twitter spats and lugnuts.

Logano’s real punishment is starting last in Sunday’s Cup race.

TRUCKS: Christopher Bell was the class of the field in the Truck Series during the regular season. With playoff races underway, Bell proved again he’ll be the driver to beat for the championship.

Bell, the top-seeded driver in the playoff field, passed Ryan Truex with 15 laps left and pulled away to win the Trucks race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Bell earned an automatic spot in the next playoff round. The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver led 73 laps, won his fifth race of the season and was the only playoff driver to finish in the top five.

Truex, who finished second, didn’t have enough in his Toyota to keep pace with Bell.

Bell knew the No. 4 Toyota was going to be the truck to beat.

The 22-year-old Bell was easily the top representative of the Truck playoff field that didn’t have another driver finish in the top five. Playoff drivers held spots six through 11.

Matt Crafton was sixth, followed by Ben Rhodes, Austin Cindric, Johnny Sauter, Kaz Grala and Chase Briscoe. John Hunter Nemechek finished 20th and was the worst finisher among the playoff drivers.