NASCAR: Racing Notes
Logano holds next big piece of the free agency puzzle
With Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. off the market, Joey Logano holds the biggest piece of the free agency puzzle.
McMurray signed a contract extension with Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing and Truex will announce on Friday he’s signed a new deal to stay in the No. 56 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing.
Kenseth is headed to the No. 20 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing, pushing Logano out of that ride and into the rumor mill.
Logano could stay at JGR in a new fourth team or he could be A.J. Allmendinger’s permanent replacement in Roger Penske’s No. 22 Ford in 2013. Penske admitted last Saturday Logano was a candidate for the job.
Truex picked a good time to be in contention to qualify for the Chase for the Championship. He’s fifth in the standings and could lock himself into the playoffs during Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, and that was enough to convince Waltrip and his sponsors to extend their relationship.
Truex said he didn’t contact other teams about changing jobs. His loyalty, and performance, apparently was rewarded.
Ryan Newman also is without a contract for 2013, but Stewart-Haas Racing is working to find new sponsorship to keep him in the No. 39 Chevrolet.
Biffle wants bonus for regular season points leader
Two weeks ago when Jimmie Johnson led the Sprint Cup Series standings, he suggested the driver who is the leader after the 26th race should be rewarded before the Chase for the Championship starts.
Now that Greg Biffle is the leader, he agrees.
“Well, obviously I am leading the points so I am going to have a biased opinion but a really truly unbiased opinion on this is that if you ask any driver and it is very difficult to lead these points,” Biffle said. “To be where you are in the points and to say that we don’t care what you have done in the first 26 races – we don’t care how solid of a team you are and you get no reward other than winning going into the Chase – that is a little undeserving of our sport.”
The only bonuses given before the playoffs are 10 points for each victory during the regular season.
“Our sport has been founded on for years the points system that rewarded being consistent and turning out good finishes and being able to ride the highs and lows,” Biffle said. “Reward for the wins but with a minor reward for being where you are at in the points.”
Earnhardt comfortable doing serious commercials
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has become one of the television’s best pitchmen, pushing Nationwide Insurance, the coal industry, Chevrolet, Diet Mountain Dew and Wrangler Jeans.
His favorite ones, however, are the serious ones involving Nationwide.
“I like the commercials we do for Nationwide. They are some of my favorites,” he said. “I’m a little more … I appreciate the sincere ones a bit more, where we talk about the lack of shareholders and stuff like that. Where we talk about the nuts and bolts of their organization, and what they are about because I feel like that is me, more genuine, and more sincere.”
He’s not a big fan of the funny ones, like the current spot with Danica Patrick where he gives out her cell phone number.
“The funny stuff, I don’t think I am a very good comedian,” Earnhardt said. “I do what they say and we make a commercial. But, the sincere stuff, and the stuff where we really get down to it is what I like doing.”