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March 2, 2024

Logano’s gloves, SHR roof rails in post-penalty focus at Las Vegas


The confiscated racing gloves from Joey Logano on display at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Alejandro Alvarez
NASCAR.com

LAS VEGAS — NASCAR show-and-tell was in session Saturday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with two different examples of aerodynamic gamesmanship shown in the Cup Series’ officials hauler. One device was from the top portions of two cars; the other came from a champion driver’s hands, in what Cup Series director Brad Moran admitted, “for me, this is a one-off.”

The confiscated and unapproved gloves used by Joey Logano in his qualifying lap last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway were shown by competition officials Saturday, along with the seized roof rails from Stewart-Haas Racing’s Nos. 10 and 41 Fords. The gloves — which were not compliant with SFI-approved standards — had all five fingers connected by webbed fabric, resembling something a middle infielder would use to snag one-hoppers on the baseball diamond.

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Logano was fined $10,000 for the unapproved gloves, in addition to the two-part competition penalty on race day — forking over his second starting spot to drop to the tail of the field and a pass-through on pit road after the green flag for his No. 22 Team Penske Ford. Stewart-Haas was docked 35 points in each of the driver and team standings for the L1-level violation, with those penalties affecting Noah Gragson’s No. 10 team and Ryan Preece’s No. 41 group.

Moran said that Logano’s infraction was discovered in a random check of roughly five cars flagged for further inspection at Atlanta; in-car camera replays verified and informed those initial concerns. The NASCAR Rule Book states that driver gloves must meet SFI specifications without being modified in any way.

“The reason for that is obviously you can block more air,” Moran said. “The drivers do put their hand up against the (window) opening, which we’ve never really had a rule against it, but this obviously goes one step further and this becomes not only a competition problem, it becomes a safety violation because that glove is no longer SFI approved. Regardless of what the material is made of, regardless of who put it on there, it’s not as-delivered, it’s not as-tested and it’s an unapproved SFI piece of safety equipment.”

The confiscated roof rails from Stewart-Haas Racing's Nos. 10 and 41 teams on display at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Alejandro Alvarez | NASCAR.com

Moran said the fabric – flame-retardant or not – also posed a safety risk since the material could impede a driver’s exit from the race car in case of a crash, potentially posing a hindrance in unbuckling seat belts or unfastening window nets.

Logano served his in-race penalty last week as a Lap 2 pileup slowed the early action at Atlanta, mitigating the severity of the punishment. Logano was able to remain on the lead lap and work back into contention before another wreck halted his progress.

“We felt comfortable with the at-track penalty. We were comfortable with it,” Moran said. “You know, their team got a little lucky, which can happen. The penalty is the penalty, the drive-through is the drive-through and the caution came out on Lap 1. That probably helped them, but no, the penalty fit the crime.”

With approved gloves this weekend at Las Vegas, Logano was still the fastest of the bunch in Saturday’s qualifying, winning the pole position for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Though he admitted that he’s no tailor when it comes to glove preparation, Logano said he bore at least a share of the blame for the Atlanta penalty.

“As a driver, you work with the team, and, hey, I’m gonna take a portion of responsibility of that too, obviously,” Logano said. “I should. I put the glove on. I didn’t build the glove or make it on my own. I can’t sew, but that’s what it was. We had conversations about it. What I’m proud about with this team is, yeah, that was a tough situation for us. It was hard to go through and embarrassing for sure, but the fact we got through it and just move on and focus on the next week. We showed that we have some speed in our race car, and to be able to put it on the pole here, to me, is a statement-type lap, so I’m proud of that.”

Logano also addressed the safety concerns, saying he did not feel that his well-being was compromised during Atlanta time trials.

“I personally did not. I would never have put myself in a situation where I feel unsafe,” Logano said. “I have kids. I have a wife. I have a family that I care way more about than race cars, so, no, I didn’t feel concerned about what we did. I didn’t race with it. Qualifying on speedways is pretty simple.”

A sampling of drivers downplayed the violation and impact of the unapproved gloves, with Bubba Wallace calling it “small potatoes” in terms of any potential performance advantage that might have been achieved.

“I didn’t really put a ton of thought into it, to be honest,” said Brad Keselowski, a former teammate of Logano’s at Team Penske. “I don’t think there’s a lot of performance (gain) there, but I think a lot of times as drivers, you get caught up in doing things so that the team feels like everybody’s all-in – whether they matter or not, and I think that probably falls into that category.”

That all-in feeling of contributing to the team effort only went so far for Logano.

“I didn’t feel better after it, I can tell you that much,” he said. “Directionally better, how much better? Probably nothing. That’s the part that hurts the most. It isn’t even worth it. It didn’t do anything to speak of. It’s directionally an area that everybody goes to try to block that hole. You see everyone put their hand there. We just tried to cover more space.”

SHR’s penalty stemmed from roof air deflectors that did not meet the computer-aided design (CAD) specs in the NASCAR Rule Book. Officials indicated that the penalty was slightly less strict because the roof rails in question are a team-produced part and not a single-source component for the Next Gen platform, which has tighter restrictions on modifications.

Moran said that the rails were meant to sit flush or flat against the roof surface but that the right-side rails on both SHR cars had raised, pressed marks at the fastener holes instead of flat openings. Those roof rails sat higher, and NASCAR inspectors discovered them in a visual check.

“That’s not done from tightening any bolts or anything else,” Moran said. “The head of the bolt is not that big, so these are pressed so they stand proud on top of the greenhouse, which is a problem. We don’t get into why they’re like that. They were only on the right side of those two vehicles, but they certainly don’t meet the CAD files, so that’s what the penalty was for.”

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