NASCAR All Star Auto Racing

Joey Logano celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday in North Wilkesboro, N.C. Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Less than two years removed from his second NASCAR Cup Series championship, Joey Logano finds himself in a fight simply to make the playoffs.

He is hoping his All-Star Race victory will provide the kick-start his No. 22 Ford team needs, beginning with Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, the longest and most grueling race on the NASCAR circuit.

Logano is 18th in the standings and has yet to win a points race this season while finishing in the top five only once in 14 starts, uncharacteristic for a driver who has been one of the sport’s best over the past decade.

He won season championships in 2022 and 2018.

“It was great to go up there and grab a win,” Logano said of his dominating victory at North Wilkesboro Speedway, where he led all but one of the 200 laps to capture his second career All-Star Race. “I wish it was a points race for sure. But a million bucks (for finishing first) is still pretty dang good and I don’t think anyone would complain about that.”

Logano said “everything went perfect” last weekend.


But things have been far from perfect for Logano during points races. Other than a second-place finish at Richmond, Logano hasn’t been in the mix much this season, and he had five straight finishes outside of the top 10 before North Wilkesboro.

“We’ve had something happen in almost every race where things are going well and then, ugh, that happened,” Logano said. “Things where we didn’t go fast or just odds-and-ends things that didn’t go well. It’s just been that kind of year for us.”

But Logano knows there is a lot of racing left.

He points to deficiencies in aerodynamics and power as being the team’s main drop-off from two years ago.

“We are about halfway to the playoffs and we have time to make up and get out of the hole that we are in,” Logano said. “And we are in a hole, there’s no doubt about that. We will keep attacking and getting after it.”

Logano said the All-Star Race couldn’t have come at a better time for his team.


It got together this week at Logano’s house to celebrate the win. That team bonding carried over to a concert on Thursday night in Charlotte, where the celebration continued.

CHASE ELLIOTT criticized NASCAR for fining driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. $75,000 for punching Kyle Busch following Sunday night’s All-Star Race after it had used video of the fight on social media.

It was the largest fine ever handed down for fighting in NASCAR history.

Elliott, speaking ahead of this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, said he knew Stenhouse had been fined but appeared stunned when informed the amount by a member of the media.

“That seems like a lot for that situation,” Elliott said. “You are going to fine him, but you are going to promote with it? Like, what are we doing? That’s a little strange to me. … That’s a lot of money to fine a guy. It’s like, ‘It’s not OK, but we are going to blast it all over everything to get more clicks.’ ”

Elliott was referring to NASCAR posting video of the fight at North Wilkesboro Speedway on the social platform X along with the words: “We’ll call this a … difference of opinion.”


Busch was not penalized.

Stenhouse’s father, Ricky Sr., – who has no affiliation with his son’s team – was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on Wednesday for his role in the fracas when he went after Busch. Stenhouse mechanic Clint Myrick was suspended for eight races and engine tuner Keith Matthews for four races for their roles in the fight.

INDY 500: Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves turned the fastest laps on Carb Day during final practice for the Indianapolis 500, while pole sitter Scott McLaughlin and Team Penske teammates Josef Newgarden and Will Power had stress-free days.

Dixon and Castroneves, who have five Indy 500 wins between them, will start way back in the seventh row Sunday after their Honda-powered cars struggled to keep up with the Chevrolet might of Penske and the Arrow McLaren bunch in qualifying.

Yet in race setup, Chip Ganassi Racing and Meyer Shank Racing – along with Colton Herta and the rest of Andretti Global – have proven they can compete. Herta was fourth on the speed chart as Honda cars nailed down five of the six fastest laps Friday, and Pato O’Ward in third was the lone Chevrolet to break up the manufacturer stranglehold.

“It seems more level,” said Dixon, who had a fast lap of 227.206 mph, before adding: “Many times the fastest car doesn’t win.”


It’s difficult to guess how speed Friday will translate to Sunday, too, given the expected change in the weather. Carb Day dawned warm and sunny, but the forecast for the race calls for cooler temperatures and a strong chance of storms.

The dire forecast didn’t dampen Castroneves’ mood as he tries to win his record fifth Indianapolis 500.

“That was great. It was very, very good. Very strong,” he said. “I’m glad we had this practice and this weather. Hopefully we’ll cross our fingers and the weather will hold on. We’ll have some work to do in the race, but the whole vibe is incredible.”

It was an eventful final practice for Kyle Larson, the NASCAR star who is trying to become the second driver and first since Tony Stewart in 2001 to complete every lap of the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte on the same day.

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