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March 10, 2024

Final-stage crash sidelines Joey Logano at Phoenix

A Lap 204 crash sidelined three-time Phoenix winner Joey Logano early from Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway.

Logano was running outside the top 20 in Sunday’s Shriners Children’s 500 when contact from John Hunter Nemechek’s No. 42 Toyota sent his No. 22 Team Penske Ford into the outside retaining wall. The cars of teammates Corey LaJoie and Carson Hocevar, plus rookies Derek Kraus and Josh Berry, were also collected in the stack-up.

Logano exited after completing 203 of a scheduled 312 laps. He will be credited with 34th place in the 36-car field.

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“Obviously I just got hit from behind,” Logano said after being evaluated and released from the infield care center. “Just overdrove the corner behind me and wrecked us. It’s a shame. We weren’t running any good at all anyways, but, doesn’t make it better. Just fighting for lucky dogs, which, you get back there and everyone’s racing not real good and I got caught up in it.”

Nemechek radioed that he didn’t mean to get into Logano and felt the No. 22 Ford slowed early upon entry to Turn 1. Logano disagreed.

“You’ve got to lift to make the corners,” he said. “You can’t hold it wide-open around Phoenix, and maybe he should take a look and realize he can’t do that, too. He drove straight in the back of me, and he needs to be man enough to own that.”

Nemechek indeed took accountability for the incident upon exiting his No. 42 Legacy Motor Club Toyota with a 25th-place finish.

“It’s my fault. I apologize to Joey and those guys,” Nemechek told “I’m gonna reach out to Joey. Probably gonna reach out to (Logano’s crew chief) Paul Wolfe and also to Roger Penske. I guess I just misjudged it.

“I hit the brake pedal really hard and I didn’t really slow down and got in the back of him. It’s my fault. Made a mistake. Gotta learn from it, own it and hopefully him and I can have a conversation this week.”

Logano entered Sunday’s event ranked 24th in the Cup Series standings. His best finish in the Cup Series this year has been ninth, last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He leaves the site of November’s title race with three finishes of 28th or worse after four races.

A two-time Cup champion, Logano was fastest in Friday’s practice but only qualified 23rd. He remained unsure why he and the team were so far off Sunday.