Sunday, July 14, 2024

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How the North Wilkesboro test could help Logano win NHMS

Logano led 199 of 200 laps in last month's All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway, and his victory was no less than partly resulting from the incontrovertible fact that he was one among three drivers to take part in Goodyear's March tire test on the track.

Paul Wolfe, Logano's crew chief, said the two-time series champion accomplished about 900 laps on the track that day, including on the tire that Goodyear ultimately utilized in the All-Star Race.

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How will this help Logano on this week's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway?

Goodyear modified its tire setup this yr at Loudon, N.H., however the tire selection continues to be familiar — it was used this yr at North Wilkesboro and last weekend at Iowa Speedway (where Logano finished sixth).

Combined with the incontrovertible fact that Logano typically performs well on the flat 1.058-mile oval and that his Penske teammates Austin Cindric and Ryan Blaney have earned their first wins of the season during the last three weeks, Wolfe believes the no. 22 could have experience with tires for the weekend could prove critical.

“Any time there's a tire change in our sport, whether it's a tire design, whether it's a compound, whether it's a big change in tire spacing, those things can obviously have a big impact on the set-up,” Wolfe said this week in an interview phone call with reporters on Zoom.

“Because it's such a crucial factor, I feel now that we've seen the consistency of this tire for us and what we've been capable of accomplish previously in New Hampshire, I'm excited to get there on course. I feel we’ve got pretty much as good a probability as anyone to get to Victory Lane this weekend.

Playoff hopes are in jeopardy

This can be especially necessary for Logano and his team as they’re currently below the edge to qualify for the 16-driver playoffs with nine races left within the regular season.

In his Cup profession, Logano – a Connecticut native – has two wins in New Hampshire and nine top-five finishes in 25 starts, including a second-place finish last yr.

Wolfe identified that there are some significant differences in tire loads between Iowa – which is shorter and faster – and New Hampshire. North Wilkesboro could also be more prefer it.

“When we talk about our short track package and the things that have worked for the No. 22 team and Team Penske in short tracks, you make a little bit of a change because it loads from Iowa to New Hampshire and the track size is a little different,” Wolfe explained.

“I feel what makes you give attention to a certain a part of the corner, what makes you successful at Loudon in comparison with Iowa, is a bit bit different, so that you're tuning in relative to the fundamental set-up and the set-up of the race automobile.

“When you find something that works until there's a big change to the tires or the aero package, I've found over the years that you can really just take it from one track to another and make offsets or changes for different loads or speeds and you can continue continue to be successful.”

Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang

Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang

Photo: Danny Hansen / NKP / Motorsport images

Logano isn't alone in seeing New Hampshire as a probability for a crucial win.

Of the six former Cup winners who took to the track this weekend, three are still seeking to secure a spot within the playoffs this season with a victory – Logano (six points over the road), Martin Truex Jr. (122 points above the cut line) and Kyle Busch (31 points above the cut line).

However, the recent success of Logano's teammates may give him a bonus.

“If we are able to't be in Victory Lane, there's nothing higher than seeing one among our team's cars (there), since it gives you one other point of knowledge: 'OK, we're on the proper track,' and the things we wish to realize that I've been working on are there. correct,” Wolfe said.

“We will continue to massage it as we head to Loudon this weekend.”

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