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Logano focused on winning, not controversy

September 12, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com

Logano contends that his pass of David Gilliland didn't affect outcome of Chase field

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CHICAGO -- Joey Logano said he isn’t concerned about NASCAR’s on-going review of last Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway. Instead, he said, he is “focused on trying to win Chicago right now. It’s not a distraction to me at all … I’m just here to race.”

It was reported Wednesday that NASCAR was investigating scanner conversation involving the No. 22 Penske Racing team of Logano and the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports team of David Gilliland.

In a statement issued Thursday morning, NASCAR officials said the sanctioning body is “continuing to gather all the facts” from the Sept. 7 event and “will have no further comment until all the facts have been examined.”

Logano passed Gilliland in the final stages of the race, a move that Logano contends was not the determining factor that allowed him to earn a position in this year’s Chase For The Sprint Cup.

“What I look at is if we didn’t pass 38 car, we’re still 10th in points and still got bonus points (for a previous win),” Logano said during the annual Chase media day at the Navy Pier. “So it has no (bearing) in the outcome of where we are right now. I don’t look at it as being a big deal at all.

“That stuff that happens week in and week out with spotters. They’re up there communicating back and forth, trying to make deals, ‘hey help me out here, I’ll help you out here, let’s work together.’ That happens all the time.”

According to an Associated Press report, Gilliland slowed on the white-flag lap, a move that allowed Logano to improve his finishing position from 23rd to 22nd. Radio scanner conversations from the No. 38 team referenced no conversations from Penske officials or its drivers in the AP report.

Penske Racing team president Tim Cindric, appearing on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Wednesday evening, said team owner Roger Penske “is not involved in trying to manipulate the outcome of a race or what have you.

“In fact, the first time Roger heard any of this stuff was (Wed.) afternoon,” he said. “…What I've seen has been totally blown out of proportion by a radio conversation that Penske didn't have anything to do with."

Penske “has spent his lifetime creating the integrity that he has and the organization has,” Cindric said. “It's difficult to listen when people challenge that.  … The facts are there was no radio communication on our side.”

Logano did benefit from the actions of Michael Waltrip drivers Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer at Richmond, but said what those drivers did or didn’t do doesn’t affect his feeling that his team deserves to be among this year’s 12 Chase participants.

“One win, eight top-fives and 13 or 14 top-10s,” Logano said of his team’s second-half record. “If you look at those numbers, that’s every bit of a top three or four (points position) this half of the season.

“I don’t feel bad being in the Chase at all; we deserve to be in if you look at those numbers.
“We’re in the Chase and we’re here to race. We’ll take the bonus points (earned by virtue of his win and finishing 10th or better in points through Richmond). We won the race (earlier this year at Michigan) so we deserve them.”

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